Poetry Issue # 151

I know, I know. What happened to March’s issue? you ask. Well, funny story. I got caught up with school, work, internship and life. Actually, that wasn’t remotely funny one bit.

It’s hard to update the poetry issues regularly, and it’s even harder to do so when you are inundated with really good poetry submissions. It’s a blessing, it’s a curse.

For this month’s issue, we proudly present the sweet smell of Napalm, incredibly long “brief bios” and the crotchless panties made accessible through communism.

So, you know, same old shit here at Gloom Cupboard.

Poetry Editor,

Luis Rivas

Mr. Sumter’s War

By Sy Roth

Cavalierly, he announces—

a war is a war is a war

by any other name, Napalm would smell as sweet.

Cannon barrels miles away hurl their guts

like drunken sailors’ on madcap shore leave.

Uncivil matters begin that way,

silence surrounding the anticipation

when explosions rip the night red

or kick up morning puffs of earth

that mushroom in the sky in cloudlets.

Rubicons crossed with songs sung to the republic.

Fodder girded with anticipation follow

the cause célèbre emancipation theme.

Flags unfurl colorful arrays of sides and puffery.

Rights to defend or rights to abolish resplendent,

all wrapped in crimson brocade,

festive omens of what is to be.

Mr. Sumter’s warriors, motley dressed for immolation

warble war songs to accompany the heated barrage.

Fields emptied of life, red towers erected to support the sky,

Runs with water from evacuated bladders.

Swampy marshes form for grim reapers to plod through.

The hurly-burly done,

they leave ragged pieces of themselves behind–

blinded eyes, memories etched behind them

dough faces piled upon dough faces,

war fought in their nighmares.


By Stephanie Smith

like a rotting piece of meat
like tendrils wrapped
around a house of lies
mistaking it for bone
like words
a skeleton who dreams of skin
a poem’s flesh

: Stephanie Smith was born in 1978 in Scranton, Pennsylvania where she still resides. Her debut poetry chapbook, DREAMS OF DALI, was released in 2010 from Flutter Press. Her work has appeared in such publications as PIF MAGAZINE, FORGE JOURNAL, and STRONG VERSE.


By Bekah Steimel


My brother informs me

all poisonous snakes

have slits for eyes


I slither toward the closest mirror

to test this theory

presented as fact

He is mistaken.

: Bekah Steimel lives in St. Louis, Missouri and is working on a first collection of poetry, chronicling one lesbian’s struggles with addiction, fidelity, mental illness, and mortality. Her poetry has appeared in Diverse Arts Project, Full of Crow, Gutter Eloquence, Milk Sugar, Mused, RiverLit,Sinister Wisdom, and Skin to Skin. Visit www.bekahsteimel.com.


By Leeroy Berlin


i want to


unattached to anything


naked but for the sheer joy

of watching the world rise up and rush

to embrace me.

Leeroy Berlin lives on speck of coral and jungle in the middle of the Pacific where he writes poetry when the lizards keep him awake all night.

By Timothy Brainard

there’s the creaking

of a door to a memory

of a time i’d long since

buried far beneath

miles & minutes of sad-

ness and regret & self-

preservation lest i

crumble from the weight

of it all like a doll formed

of faulty china set

carelessly on a shelf in

a house less than ten ft.

from a very busy

railroad in the middle

of a decade-long squall

twisting trees and

tossing lawn ornaments

and shaking the walls of

this little soggy

cardboard house. & me.

: Timothy Brainard has recently published his first book of collected works entitled, A Lion Roars in the Western Sky (The Poems). He maintains a blog at http://timbrainard.com/.

The Poem Room

By Mike Finley

It is a place of shame,

the only room with a lock

on the door.

To make it come out

you loosen your garments

and drop them to the floor.

There is paper there

for you to use,

one sheet after another.

But when you are done

how proud you are

of what you have authored.

You want to call people in

to show them what

you’ve made

and they smile

because they don’t want

you to feel dismayed,

but in the end it is

the one thing you do

that is expressly you

: Mike Finley actually won a Pushcart Award once. He is the editor of LIEF magazine, whose website disappeared last week but is up again now, in South Korea. Mike has written over 170 books, to no particular effect.

Crotchless Panties So Eastern Europe Doesn’t
By Ryan Quinn Flanagan


Cut the tracheae

like a telephone line

where it matters,

not deep under ocean

where eels fornicate


and sea horses swim

with pointy armpit


but somewhere

next to ear,

in a Washington town car


closer than oysters

shucked clean of communism

in July.

And freedom has a price,

they say,

move expensive than

a six pack

but less than a


as Hoover –

painted up like a

Goya –

dances in heels

long as old


for God

and country

and anyone else

who will let

him lead.

: Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a happily unmarried proud father of none.
By Erik Moshe

impaled by barbershop poles
Apollo Creed seethed in the manger
tonguing coffin cheesecake
panting from Byzantine miles accrued by crawling
through urchin blood that was to be extracted
by a hypodermic straw

tower of babel caretakers

were told to coat the monument’s crusty scales in slave saliva

(simple enough request at the behest of the saliva givers)

we salivate like the indecisive monarches we are

splinters in the lampshade
that hold old gold goblets close to mouth
because it’s impulsive, mostly

wired the horseman’s jaws shut
his steed too
a tree of hatchets
fragments of a black dog
parable insecticide

marble grandmasters
with chessboards of flesh
stand firm in the rocking chair graveyard
you call it surreal
i call it necessity
a matter of digesting uneloquent content beatrixes
of right and wrong in a published devilscape

please accept this poem.


By John Grey


Somewhere in our history,

we stopped eating each other

and planted grain.

With adequate amounts

of sun and rain,

our crops prospered

and we all held onto

our arms and legs.

We are not totally free

of our cannibal ancestors

but we have alighted

on something called


So in bad years,

we don’t revert

to all that prehistoric savagery.

We merely complain.

We take out loans

to get through rough times,

don’t even think

about butchering a child or two

or sending grandma

to the knacker’s yard.

We read articles

about some primitive peoples

who still eat human flesh.

But that’ll change.

The world catches up

with all of us.

They’ll soon enough

be landowners

and civilized

and stuck with each other.

: John Grey is an Australian born poet, works as financial systems analyst. Recently published in International Poetry Review, Chrysalis and the science fiction anthology, “Futuredaze”with work upcoming in Potomac Review, Sanskrit and Osiris.

(don’t hate)
By Demond Blake

i was in line
w/a a friend
who was
getting $
wired to him
when i looked
along the line
and saw a
man w/tats
on his fingers
that said

“don’t hate”

he kept swinging
downward @
imaginary folks
that were either
pecks or someone
he had beaten
to the ground

(don’t hate)

his girlfriend
was next to
him pregnant
and annoyed
seemingly @

(don’t hate)

i was bored
and antsy

(don’t hate)

then my
friend got
his $ and
we left to
get beer

(don’t hate)

the guy w/the
tats swung on
keeping him
his girl and
his unborn
safe from

(don’t hate)

: Born in Las Vegas in 1979 Demond Blake moved to Los Angeles in the 80s and spent his childhood moving from his parents in LA, his grandparents in Las Vegas and his Uncle’s in Manhattan. After graduating high school he briefly enrolled at Redlands University and wrote his first book ‘Limbo’ about a group of recent high school graduates trying to figure out what to do with themselves as the main character goes through the motions having and losing his first love. After a year of not being able to find a publisher his friends helped him self-publish his novel and they sold copies at campuses around Southern California pricing the book in such a way to just recoup printing costs. He was unsatisfied with this process and unhappy with ‘Limbo’ and decided to take some time off from the bubble of college life and spent the next few of years doing odd jobs, going to school here and there and sharpening his writing skills through reading and constantly writing poetry. Settling down in Colton,CA a few years ago after living in Oregon he felt he had moved past the themes explored in ‘Limbo’ and had something to say about his generation as a whole and his second novel ‘Slackass’ was the result. While looking for representation for ‘Slackass’ Demond is half way through his third novel ‘Sputnik’ which is a prequel to ‘Slackass’. It is written as a collection of short stories connecting the various characters and their exploits. 

Published by peace is illegal

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

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