Sunday, May 19, 2024

One Poem by Ryan Quinn Flanagan

A Real Escape Artist 

The woman upstairs 
ran a tight ship,
never let her husband speak
out of turn
and made him deal weed
in the basement:
nothing serious, just dime bags in a pinch,
but she didn’t want to see or hear about it,
a real escape artist,
but she loved the money that came in
each week like the plague –
you just knew this one was setting up
the crying unspoilt virgin on the rocks: 
she had no idea 
and would cooperate fully
with the authorities 
about all those people 
that were lesser than her
and had a problem.

Bio: Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a Canadian-born author residing in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with his wife and mounds of snow.  His work can be found both in print and online in such places as: Evergreen Review, The New York Quarterly, The Asylum Floor, Horror Sleaze Trash, Red Fez, and The Oklahoma Review. He enjoys listening to the blues and cruising down the TransCanada in his big blacked out truck.

One Poem by J.J Campbell

Nothing Better to Do

out looking for hookers 
at three in the morning

nothing but the homeless 

and cops with nothing

better to do


these are the nights where 

cheap wine would flow

along with a few cheap 



a flash of lightning 

in the distance


plenty of miles before 

that fresh slice of hell 

gets here


back home


put a little music on


break out the watercolors

and see how insanity 

looks on a blank canvas


i used to paint naked 

out at the farm


i would laugh when 

the body hair ended 

up mixing with the 



just another animal

waiting to be caged


left to his own devices


and all the chaos within

Bio: J.J Campbell (1976-?) is trapped in the suburbs wondering where all the lonely housewives went. He's been widely published over the years, most recently at The Beatnik Cowboy, Horror Sleaze Trash, Synchronized Chaos, Disturb the Universe Magazine and The Rye Whiskey Review. You can find him most days on his mildly entertaining blog, Evil Delights

Wednesday, May 8, 2024

Four Poems by Dave Roskos

I staggered across

the boardwalk w/

a six pack of beer

I lowered it over the fence

onto the beach & then

tumbled over the fence

into the sand

I walked a few feet

& the cardboard six pack

holder fell apart

& the beer bottles

fell in the sand.

I pulled a piece of tinfoil

out of my pocket

unwrapped it

& ate a hit & a half of

gelatin-like LSD

which was stuck to it

then I gathered up

my beer

& continued walking

toward the ocean

a cop blew a whistle

& told me to stop

& drop the beer

they escorted me

off the beach

across the boardwalk

to the street.

one of the cops

set me against

a cop car

& began interrogating me

he kept telling me to

stop spitting

I didn’t get why

he cared if I spit

or not until

I looked down

at his shoes

which were covered

in spit

(& I wasn’t even

aiming for them!)

I burst out into laughter


by the time we got

to the Seaside Heights

police station

I was feeling

the effects of the acid.


the cops made me

take all of my clothes off

& threw me in a small cell

where the acid


to kick in



a little while later

they brought me

out into a brightly

lit empty room

& stood me

against the wall

which was covered

w/ blood splatterings

dripping red like a

Jackson Pollock



the cop who arrested me

whose shoes I had spit on

started poking a nightstick

into my chest, yelling

spit on me now, tough guy!

there were a dozen

other cops in the room

they formed a half

circle from one side

of me to the other

on the wall

they all had nights sticks too

& were slapping

them into their hands

waiting for me to make

the first move

Come on! Hit me!

yelled the cop--

I said, I’m not crazy

& did not make a move

I asked one of the cops

who looked like he

was in charge if he

knew my father

he said, yeah,

& it looks like

you are following

in his footsteps.


they put me back

in the cell, still naked.


some time later

they gave me my clothes

& drove me to the

juvenile jail

in Toms River


That was the worst acid trip I ever had



When I was a teenager

I hated cops

& used to spit on them

when I was drunk


my father was my first

drinking buddy

we smoked pot together too


he liked fords for some reason

had several 1965 mustangs

& a few falcons (a 1960 w/ 3 on the tree)

but mostly he drove dodge darts


everybody drank & drove back then

the cops would take yr car keys

tell you to sleep it off

in the backseat

come back a few hours later

at the end of their shift

& give ya your keys back


once me & my dad

& a bunch of our friends

as many as could fit in the backseat

got pulled over by a cop

in the pine barrens


I had been in a black out

the last thing I remembered

was being at a party in the afternoon

all of a sudden it was night time

& we were all standing

on the side of route 70

with the red lights revolving

into the trees around us


there were 2 or 3 cops

“Dover Rovers” we called them

on account they were from Dover Township


one of them questioned me

asked for ID & when he

was done, moved on to one of

our friends who was standing

next to me. they had us

all lined up in a row against

one of the police cars


one of the gals

had a big bag of potato chips

I stuck my hand in the bag

& stuffed a bunch of

chips in my mouth,

chewed them up,

filling my cheeks

like a chipmunk.


I tapped on the cop’s shoulder

when he turned to look at me

I sprayed the potato chips

in his face in a long

continuous spray


all of my friends laughed

& the cops handcuffed me

& threw me in the back

of the police car


my dad was already back there

his hands cuffed behind his back

Ya gotta stop spitting on cops Davey,

he said, one of these times

one of em might kill you.


my step-father Storm

picked me up from the jail

in Whiting

I was only 15 so they

released me into his custody


we didn’t speak on the drive home

(I think they took my dad to ocean county jail)


As we walked into the living room

Saturday Night Live was on TV

& the Grateful Dead were playing

Bob Weir was wearing bunny ears

It was Saturday April 5, 1980,

the night before Easter


Another Time / Another Traffic Stop

another summer night

coming out of a blackout

being questioned by the police

my hands cuffed behind my back

cop says blow in my face

(he wanted to see if he could

smell alcohol on my breath)

I twisted my mouth

into a sarcastic smile

my friends burst out laughing

the cop kicked my legs

out from under me 

& I landed on my back

on the asphalt

my father yelled

Don’t you fuckin’ touch him!

& lunged toward the cops

but they already

had him constrained



Poem For The Police at Seaside Heights


At sixteen I was arrested

for spitting on a policeman’s shoes.

A copy of Allen Ginsberg’s Planet News

in my back pocket.

They called me the philosopher king

and applied several tactics of intimidation.

They stripped me naked & threw me in a cell.

I had planned on traveling to Tennessee

to visit Stephen Gaskin’s Farm.

I wouldn’t have lasted a week;

Drug addicts make terrible hippies.

Angry young men make bad lovers.


Life is so much better,

since I’ve been off booze.

Bio: Dave Roskos is the editor of Big Hammer Magazine & Iniquity Press/Vendetta Books. Currently editing a mag called Street Value, a print zine which is online at: He works as a life skills specialist for a non-profit independent housing program for folks recovering from mental illness & addiction.

Sunday, April 28, 2024

Two Poems by Ryan Quinn Flanagan



They were filming 

a new movie in town 

and they asked for a few hundred

extras to pretend they were dying

and she said we should go downtown

and see if we could get into the movie,

with that big name actor who bathed in horse piss

and made up his own religion,

but I only wanted to be me and alive, and I knew no one

wanted that, they never had.


She tells people she made it into the movie,

even though you never see her.

She accused me of that very same thing for

all the time we were together,

not “seeing her.”


I guess it was fine when the big 

movie houses did it.



When Lovers Become Informants 


Sharing all those nights together.

Sitting up in bed, telling secrets.


Then the turn comes.

Often without notice.


They shoot back out into the world.

Tell everyone they know

everything they know.


The things that are certain 

to hurt the most.


As though

there was never any love 

to begin with.

Bio: Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a Canadian-born author residing in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with his wife and mounds of snow. His work can be found both in print and online in such places as: Evergreen Review, The New York Quarterly, The Asylum Floor, Horror Sleaze Trash, Red Fez, and The Oklahoma Review.  He enjoys listening to the blues and cruising down the TransCanada in his big blacked out truck.

Saturday, April 6, 2024

Two Poems by Matt Borczon

My First Job After the War

Was as a

prison nurse

and the inmate

in our isolation

cell had been

shot 4 times

in an attempted

robbery and

I watched two

nurses stumble

over bandaging

him like monkeys

trying to type

Gone with the Wind


late into 3rd

shift I decide to

fix the mess

they made out

of him and I

understand really

no one learns

this kind of

thing in school

and they don’t

see enough gun

shots in the ER’s

of Erie Pennsylvania

for anyone to

get good at it


when I finish

the kid asks

me why are you

so much better

at this than

those other nurses


and I was

only three months

back from Afghanistan

and I was

still not ready

to talk about

any of it not 

with my wife

or kids

or father


not about Helmand

or my nightmares

or all the holes

I bandaged and

debrided or about

all the wounds

still too fresh

to close


just feel lucky

that I am better

than them

I said as

I walked out

of his cell.



Aaron Was Scary


I used

to fight

him in



around town

until he

became an

enforcer for

the local

drug gang



they say

we all 

meet someone

tougher than

we are

and when

a group

from Detroit

decided they

wanted to

control the

drug trade

in Erie

they sent

some guys

in only

Aaron didn’t

go down

like they

thought he



a few

days later


killed his

son walking

home from

school and

no one

has seen

Aaron in

almost six



they say

he just sits 

home sad

and alone


in a

way he

never saw



Bio: Matt Borczon is a nurse in a plasma donation center and a retired Navy sailor. He has published 18 books of poetry. His latest Post Deployment is available through Dumpster Fire Press.

One Poem by Ryan Quinn Flanagan

A Real Escape Artist  The woman upstairs  ran a tight ship, never let her husband speak out of turn and made him deal weed in the basement: ...