Friday, January 12, 2024

Four Poems by J.J Campbell

Creatures of Mercy

 

these lost desolate angels

 

creatures of mercy sent to kill 

off what little life i still have 

to live

 

i never wanted to be famous 

or popular

 

but i also never wanted to feel 

used and alone

 

i was born with the wrong spoon 

in my mouth to have a say in any 

of this shit

 

so, go work in a factory

 

bitch about the money

 

marry some fool that believes in love

 

have two kids for the tax breaks

 

find that perfect home in the suburbs 

and become a fucking statistic

 

or keep thinking those poems you write

mean something to someone other than 

yourself

 

either way, you will learn the hard way that 

not every fucking soul gets to be remembered 

or thought of kindly

 

the quicker you pick that up, the sooner you 

can actually figure out that there is nothing 

here you should ever give two shits about

 

go seek out the truth and be disappointed 

that no one has any clue any longer that 

such a thing even exists

 

 

All the While Sharpening the Knives

 

the subtle way she walks 

into a room

 

takes you by surprise

 

imposing yet beautiful

 

you can’t imagine anything

but her from now on

 

elusive, hard to figure out

but she becomes the muse

 

the only one to get your jokes

 

the only one that listens to 

your despairs

 

all the while sharpening the 

knives because you never 

know when they are needed

 

she doesn’t forget anything

but only remembers what 

she wants

 

every male that has ever said 

something stupid to someone 

they love knows what that 

means

 

i think the muse knows 

i love her

 

i’m just not sure she’s 

at the point where it 

means something 

to her

 

 

All the Signs are There

 

riding the waves of pain

 

like holding the sharpest knife 

you can find in your teeth

 

she touches your hand and you feel 

a fire you haven’t felt in thirty years

 

and at the oddest times

 

life will remind you

 

the only way out is to die

 

the left hip is bad, the back is worse

you’re starting to forget the simple 

things

 

all the signs are there

 

so is the shotgun in the corner and 

all the bottles that still need to be 

finished off

 

none of the dreams ever come true 

like you thought they would

 

still not smart enough to just accept 

the wins

 

perfection is for the perfect ones

 

no one has ever mistaken you for that

 

she told you she loves you

 

you said it back as quickly as you could

 

that’s a start

 

 

As Cheap as Wine

 

the neon gods start laughing

 

you ever see a paisley rainbow

 

all the butterflies dancing 

on the same beat

 

i can recall the days where the 

drugs were as cheap as wine

 

of course, none of it ever 

lasted long

 

my daydreams have become 

purple nightmares where 

my demons start to pity me

and think they no longer have 

any use of my dysfunction

 

i’ve started another suicide 

note, just in case

 

the calm before the storm 

never comes anymore

 

the constant violence

of this life

 

as i ache myself to sleep 

each night

 

i’m too old for this shit

 

scribbling down words

watching it all fade to a 

dying blood on the page

 

of course, this could be 

the gin talking



Bio: J.J. Campbell (1976 - ?) was raised by wolves yet managed to graduate high school with honors. He's been widely published over the years, most recently at Synchronized Chaos, Misfit Magazine, Disturb the Universe Magazine, Dumpster Fire Press and Lothlorien Poetry Journal. You can find him most days on his mildly entertaining blog, Evil Delights

Thursday, January 11, 2024

Three Poems by Catfish McDaris

Five Finger Discount

Nasty Jack was a greaseball biker

from near the Mexican border, he

got his name from his Levis being

so stiff, he could stand them up in

the corner awaiting his reentrance

 

He was always working on Indians

and Harley Davidsons, occasionally

he applied his magic to four wheel ve-

hicles, but he preferred the freedom

of riding in the wind, unless he was

 

Pulling a big shoplifting job requiring

a crew to cart away the stolen goodies,

his hands were invisible fast, I worked

with him a few times as a distraction

man or driver, Jack knew no fear

 

I’d entered stores with him and never

seen anything, outside he’d unload

eight huge Porterhouse steaks, three

bottles of Heinz 57 and he’d grab a

rack of fifty packs of Marlboros

 

Situated right in front of the checker,

he once walked away with two dollies

of booze, one had nine cases of Corona

and the other had top shelf tequila and gin

 

We never knew what Jack would show

up with next, but he never came home

empty-handed, he wrote a note goodbye and

said forget about being thieves, he was going

fishing at Boca Chica where the Rio Grande

flowed into the Gulf of Mexico.

 

 

Fred & Georgia

 

Fred was a 59 
headbanger always listening 

to Led Zep with his vintage walkman

& saying NO! when nodding

He ate fried chicken through

a straw, drank cocaine, &

snorted whiskey & champagne

nobody squeezed his lemons

One day he ran into Georgia who

was 24 & fan of Bob Marley & sang No Woman 

No Cry at the top of her lungs

completely out of tune

Fred loaded a Meerschaum with

dynamite skunk weed they soon

got naked and watched the egg yolk

sun disappear into the purple black 

Nine months later Georgia

gave birth to a rhinoctopus

they called Ringo Jupiter &

Fred danced like James Brown.

 

 

Quicksand

 

Jose’s amigos arrived from Austin

in a new 4-cylinder Mustang, they

said it had no pep, they asked him

to destroy it for the insurance money

 

They harvested 20 lbs of psilocybin

mushrooms, covered them with honey,

froze them, and transported them in an

ice chest, 10 lbs were Jose’s if he did

 

The car, he wanted to strip it and sell it,

but they insisted he blow it up and burn it

he drove out to a caliche pit followed by

his lady and soaked the Mustang in gas and

torched it, later he called the cops

 

He tried the mushrooms before selling

any, they were strong, sort of like good

acid, but they made him laugh for hours,

Jose decided to go see Iron Butterfly

 

With a quart of Coors he ate some ‘shrooms,

parking his short a few blocks away, the

hallucinations slowed him into snail turtle

motion, his stomach was grizzly growling

 

Seeing a dark backyard, he dropped a load

and a rat dog kept barking so he used it for

ass wipe, he gazed up at the brilliant sky

 

It started raining whores and tequila, he felt

thirsty and stiffer than petrified wood, he led

three senoritas to his car and got a bucket to

catch some cactus juice in, looking in the

back seat he saw the stinky little dog

 

Jose figured he had been adopted, he asked

“What’s your name boy?” The dog replied,

“Quicksand, motherfucker and I need a bath.”



Bio: Catfish McDaris’ most infamous chapbook is Prying with Jack Micheline and Charles Bukowski. His best readings were in Paris at the Shakespeare and Co. Bookstore and with Jimmy "the Ghost of Hendrix" Spencer in NYC on 42nd St. He’s done over 25 chaps in the last 25 years. He’s been in the New York QuarterlySlipstreamPearlMain St. RagCafé ReviewChiron ReviewZen TattooWormwood ReviewGreat Weather For MediaSilver Birch Press, and Graffiti and been nominated for 15 Pushcarts, Best of Net in 2010, 2013, and 2014, he won the Uprising Award in 1999, and won the Flash Fiction Contest judged by the U.S. Poet Laureate in 2009. He was in the Louisiana ReviewGeorge Mason Univ. Press, and New Coinfrom Rhodes Univ. in South Africa. He’s recently been translated into Spanish, French, Polish, Swedish, Arabic, Bengali, Mandarin, Yoruba, Tagalog, and Esperanto. His 25 years of published material is in the Special Archives Collection at Marquette Univ. in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Friday, December 22, 2023

Three Poems by George Anderson

The Haunted

While writing the opening 2 chapters of Part II 

of The Idiot in Geneva, Dostoyevsky’s daughter Sofya

developed inflammation of the lungs 

& died, aged 2 months.

 

His second wife Anna Grigoryevna

wrote that he stood in front of

Sofya’s body until it grew cold & 

covered her tiny white face & hands 

with burning kisses & he “sobbed like a woman.”

 

Ten years later while working on his masterpiece

The Brothers Karamazov his 3 year old son Alyosha 

had an epileptic fit that lasted 12 hours & 40 minutes 

and he subsequently horribly died.

 

Dostoyevsky wept inconsolably 

the entire evening on his knees

beside his son’s bed, crushed,

helpless in the notion that Alyosha

had died from a disease that he had

most likely inherited from him.

 

Despite his grief & his mounting

health & financial worries, Dostoyevsky

picked himself up & toiled relentlessly 

on his novel until it was completed,

shortly before his death, aged 59.

 

 

The Bigger Picture

 

I like it

that I have

no goals

 

that I’m past

my prime

 

that I’m not

on TicTock

or X

 

that I don’t

pray to an

imaginary 

being

 

that I hate

the profit

motive in

capitalism

 

that I don’t

have to work

for a living

anymore.

 

I truly dig it 

that this obsessive

life-long

accumulation

of wealth

of friends

of knowledge

 

can ALL

be lost

 

in an instant.

 

 

Too Much Coke

 

I was on another beer

the other bloke was on a pint of vodka

& orange juice.

 

We talked about growing up

below the tracks in NDG-

of Pinto, Big Larry, Mich, Rocko,

Toe, The Mechanic, Pud & several others.

 

Most of them now dead

many from enlarged hearts.

 

Too much coke

He reckoned.

Fucks you up real bad.

 

Hey Buds, do you remember

that crazy motherfucker 

who used to chase us down the dump 

when we raided his garden

so we could chuck his tomatoes

at passing cars on the Decarie Expressway?

 

Pinocello.

 

Yeah, that's him. What ever happened to the bastard?

 

He cacked it. Too much fucking coke.

 

We laugh ourselves stupid, imagining that 80 something psycho

snorting a few solid white lines & then charging at us in full fury!

 

 

Bio: George Douglas Anderson is a teacher and writer who lives in Wollongong, Australia. He edits the blog Bold Monkey Review and sometimes adds to the pile. Jump Out of Any Window (Backroom Poetry, UK, 2024) is his latest publication.

Thursday, December 7, 2023

Two Poems by Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal

Planned Destinations

In the morning

on the shoulder

of the freeway

with a flat tire,

the cars zoom

by in hurried

haste to planned

destinations.

Walking to the

back of the car

to the flat tire

at right rear side

of the car, I feel

deflated as well

as the Auto Club

tow truck driver

puts on the spare

after finding

the big hole on

the flat tire.

I spot a broken

meth pipe on the

shoulder of the

road in the gravel.

I think of all the

clients referred

for conservatorship

this month, over

half of them struggling

with this drug as

the cars zoom past

to their planned

destinations.

 

 

His Life and Her Life

 

They took his life and her life

in the middle of the day

because they were poor

because they worked low wages

and they never ate well

because they did not have the means

then or now, and there were

times they slept on the streets

without a tent or blanket;

they slept in the dirt

under trees.

They had good souls.

They were treated worse than dogs.

They worked so hard.

They could barely walk in those old shoes.

They were kept down

and they got up

only to be thrown down again.

They were buried without a dime

to their name; just the debt

they could never pay back;

and what was owed to them for their pain

and sacrifice, no one felt obligated

to pay them back.



Bio: Luis lives in California and works in Los Angeles. His poetry has appeared in Blue Collar Review, Escape Into Life, Kendra Steiner Editions, Misfit Magazine, and Unlikely Stories. His last full-length poetry book, Make the Water Laugh, was published by Rogue Wolf Press.

Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Two Poems by Alan Catlin

Sober Ten Years, Seven Months, Twenty-One Days:a Lament

The wife and I were holed up

in some place, not even sure 

which wife, they all blend together 

after a while. Might have been 

the third one, that’s when I was

at my worst, though it could just

as easily been the fourth one.

I was bad then too.

All I know for sure was we had

all this cash on us, well, I had

all this cash, and it seemed like

totally necessary, vital even, to hide 

some, bury it good, you know, just in case,

you know, for like one of those unknown 

contingencies that inevitably turn up

when you’re drunk. So we started 

putting stuff in places: under mattresses, 

cushion covers, under lamps, even in 

the room safe and off we go to do

some damage, though, we called it

something else euphemistic, something 

like a, night out of the town. There was

gambling where we were, either Vegas

or Atlantic City, you know how drunks

love to gamble and casinos love drunks.

Anyway, I’m sure I had some cards too.

Once I shot my wad at craps and cards, 

but they would have been in my wallet 

which I shrewdly left back at the hotel,

whichever one we were staying at,

like no one forgets where they are staying,

right? This is back when hotels still

had room keys. We’d lost those a long

time ago along with the car keys.

Who knew what car we were driving?

I sure as hell didn’t. I had lots of cars

back then. And money too. You think

stuff like that is going to last forever

when it’s going good. Ha! So, I asked

the wife, “You know which car

we had? And she says, “The red one.”

“They’re all red. (….)

“So.”

“What am I supposed to do, go out in

the parking lot and look for a red car?”

“Why not?”

Now you understand why I got divorced.

Anyway, we’re in the lobby of

wherever, no room key, no car keys,

all my money in the room somewhere

and I’m tapped, so I ask the wife,

“Babe, you have any cash on you?”

“Gee, honey, I don’t know. 

You always say for me not to carry

cash because I spend too much when I do.”

“Could you look, just in case. We’re 

going to have to crash some place

and we can figure out where the rest

of our stuff is later on. That’s what 

room service is for.”

I’m leaning on the front desk counter

while she’s rummaging through Pandora’s

handbag, and I’m starting to freak

at all the stuff that’s flying out of there.

I’m thinking, I’m going to need a fifth 

of Jack Daniels to settle my nerves like, 

pronto, when the night clerk taps me on 

the shoulder and says, “Your room key, Sir.”

It’s almost enough to make you believe

in God. Actually, it was the drunk’s precaution

of folding up a portrait of Andy Jackson

and slipping it to the kid on the way out

“to remember me by, in case I forget later on”

that saved the day. Still, I was so relieved,

I could have kissed the guy but I restrained

myself. For all I know, the wife is still

down in the lobby rummaging through

her bag. A sensible man would have

given up drinking right then and there

but no one ever accused me of having

a grain of sense. It would take something

a whole lot worse than losing a couple

of grand, a room key, a wife, and a car to 

knock some sense into me.



The European Tour

 

“She was the type of woman who would

have brought tears to the eyes of John Ruskin"

Maurice Dekobra

 

Her idea for a gap year was

to save all the tips she made

working as a cocktail waitress in 

an upscale pub and from some soft

core hooking on the side. Soft core

hooking, to her, meant causal tricking 

without a pimp, casual hints dropped,

beverage napkin dates, cell phone

numbers exchanged. “I like the older

guys. They have more money, 

are more than likely married, 

and don’t ask questions and, man,

they expect the same. I don’t do 

perverted. Not for money anyway.”

Was planning on doing the European

tour, on her back, first hand, in depth

research for a Baedeker’s Guide

to Getting Laid, she was going to 

call, Do it on the Rails: Getting 

the Most from Your Euro Pass

and Have Fun Doing It. Something

like that, anyway. If that didn’t work

out, her back up plan was a Sociological

study on the sexual habits of the horny

European Male: You Don’t Need

a Translator to Have Good Sex.

Sociology wasn’t her major, and she

couldn’t write worth shit, but that

was something she’d worry about after

the research was finished, and recorded

in a diary she’d lose somewhere between

Buda and Pest. Thought protection during 

intercourse was “for wimps, was like playing 

Russian Roulette with an empty gun,” 

when it was more like playing with one 

chamber empty, high stakes stud poker 

with someone else’s money, drawing a card 

for an inside straight.

 

 

Bio: Alan Catlin is a former barman with way too much experience in that unchosen profession.  His most recent full-length books include, Bar Guide for the Seriously Deranged (Roadside Press) and How Will the Heart Endure (Kelsay Press)

Four Poems by J.J Campbell

Creatures of Mercy   these lost desolate angels   creatures of mercy sent to kill  off what little life i still have  to live   i never want...