Poetry Issue # 148

The American electoral process is a lot like poetry: it’s an amazing, empowering process that fills one with euphoria and hope, and then it’s over.

But seriously folks. I just want to apologize to all you that follow gloomcupboard.com and its poetry section for not getting a poetry issue to you for October. As some of you might know, I am a full-time college student and I had midterms the past couple of weeks. That’s over with now. Once again, sorry.

In the following issue we have poems penned by some that, by this time tomorrow morning, might very well be behind bars.

Why do so many good poems come from the Midwest? You fuckers just drink, read Upton Sinclair and walk the cold, cultured streets in pea coats all night or what?

Luis Rivas
Henry Ajumeze

Poetry Editors
Gloom Cupboard

Born into this world
By Diane Webster

I never asked to be born.
I was comfortable floating
along with my lifeline
of food and oxygen and blood.
Warm, not a care in my world
except to kick my boundaries
until I fell inside a whirlpool
sucked into cold, bright, noisy
foreign world where I cried
my demands whether met or not
always needing help
knowing I would be kicked out
of this world too for a world
I never asked to be born to.


Bio: Diane Webster enjoys looking for poetry ideas in everyday life.  Then her challenge is to optimize those opportunities by writing. Her work has appeared in “Jellyfish Whispers,” “Illya’s Honey,” “The Hurricane Review” and other literary magazines.


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 over


The Lolita Complex
By Erren Geraud Kelly


at 5’2, everyone is taller than her, she’s 17
and she’s girly in her high heels
she tells me she either wants to go to
brown or wesleyan
and that she got a poem published recently
i give her poetry books to encourage her
like bill did when he gave monica a copy of
“leaves of grass”
but i show restraint in my encouragement

the world is full of dirty old men
and i want to be honorable

a high school teacher in florida
had an affair with one of her students
and went to jail for him

then married him when she got out

she had no shame
i always kept my crushes on female teachers
and profesors to myself
though they probably knew

when i lived in portland maine, in 1998
i met a half-turkish/ half white girl

doing security work at the
portland jetport
her dad was an u.s. army colonel
he compared her to a spice girl and warned her
she was at the age when guys wanted something

the girl and i exchanged emails and snail mails
but that was it; the jails are full of men
who have wrecked their lives over a woman
if you’re gonna ruin your life over a woman
make sure she’s worth it
the turkish girl would’ve been worth it

miley cyrus pimps her swimsuit photos
on the internet, satisfying the pedophiles’ appetite
the chemicals and growth hormones in foods can make girls looks
twenty-five when they’re really 15
and r. kelly and woody allen
thank heaven for little girls

i’ve given my nieces poetry books, too

i told one of them

if you have sex with a man, make sure

you protect yourself
but my niece told me
she’s not interested in men…


Bio: Erren is a poet based in Chicago, by way of Louisiana, by way of Maine, by way of California, by way of New york City and so on. He has been writing for 21 years and has over three dozen publications in print and online in such publications as Hiram Poetry Review, Mudfish, Poetry Magazine(online) and other publications. His most recent publication was in ” In Our Own Words,” a Generation X poetry anthology; He was also published in other anthologies such as ” Fertile Ground,” Beyond The Frontier ” and other anthologies.

Christmas Eve
By Phillip A. Ellis
The heat and cicadas weary me
and the kitchen linoleum sticks,
so that the skin of my feet tug
with every footstep taken.

I take a tepid glass of water
back to the Formica benchtop:
it is cloudy and tastes metallic,
and I can barely swallow it.

I have long forgotten
the attractions of Christmas
in my solitary life
apart from my petty family.

And I do not consider
the looming decade with hope;
there is no joy contemplating
the eighties, another dead ten years.


Bio: Phillip A. Ellis is a freelance critic, poet and scholar. His chapbooks, The Flayed Man and Symptoms Positive and Negative, are available. He is working on a collection for Diminuendo Press. Another has been accepted by Hippocampus Press. He is the editor of Melaleuca.



Another year, Another erection
By Leeroy Berlin


the tumescent purple heart of democracy

beats and

withers like a raisin

in the california sun

while beverly hills housewives throw glasses of water in the faces

of republican door knockers in khaki pants and

polo shirts.

at pico and san vicente a bubbling girl from the valley

explains ebulliently to a family in

government housing

how important it is that

they go to the polls on election day.

and seven thousand miles away

there’s a stretch of sunbeat coral where i go to


and watch the girls

gliding upright

across the waves

as their arms paddle goodbye

to colorful crabs scuttling

on floor of the silent sea.


Bio: Leeroy Berlin made the mistake of accepting a friendly offering of rice wine brewed in a plastic tub and sold in an old gas can in the mountains of Vietnam.  He still writes poetry mainly because the ruou san lung left his brain unable to do much else.  This has left him plenty of time to fill editors’ inboxes.


How to Understand Their Geography
By Rebecca Schumejda


In history today, we verbally paint

each continent, fill in massive wavy

bodies of water mixed with glitter,


we simulate raised reliefs, trace

longitudinal and latitudinal lines with

flexible rulers, but this won’t change the

fact that the girl in the front row’s father

won’t be released from prison until

three decades after her graduation,


that the boy in the back gets stoned

with his mother every night and makes

out with her forty-year-old friends


and then there is the quiet girl, who

writes exquisite poems, tucks them

into her folder for me to read, each with


the disclaimer: This isn’t about me.

Yes, there are seven continents!, Yes,

Yes, that is known as plate tectonics!


Then there are state and federal mandates

the tests, tests, tests, because of course

that will be what pulls us all back together.


Bio: Rebecca Schumejda is the author of Cadillac Men, forthcoming from New York Quarterly Press; Falling Forward, a full-length collection of poems (sunnyoutside, 2009); From Seed to Sin (Bottle of Smoke Press, 2011), The Map of Our Garden (verve bath, 2009); Dream Big Work Harder (sunnyoutside press 2006); The Tear Duct of the Storm(Green Bean Press, 2001); and the poem “Logic” on a postcard (sunnyoutside).





Published by peace is illegal

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

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