Porn Shopping

by John Rocco

On the asphalt flesh road

Northern Blvd.

Queens, baby, Queens

old Indian trail

the starving ghosts chase

used condoms and Taco Bell wrappers

anything for a taste of the lost time.

I’m on my way in the middle of the day

to go porn shopping

the cool colorful shelves

exciting and calming

but I can’t get there

because of the traffic suicides

Tanya Tucker on the radio

and the big white truck right

in front of me has painted on

its rear door in big red

white and blue:





Succubus sunlight

explodes my windshield

cooking up

my brains

what’s left

but soon I’m

inside the porn store

cool and peaceful

shopping for guilt.

Fritz Lang

by John Rocco


Fritz Lang


and at least one big martini a day for life

told Hitler to go fuck himself

cast big boy Death in Der müde Tod with lots of candles

loved high-priced Hollywood call girls

invented high tech demonic city serial killer spy movies

the master criminal

Dr. Mabuse

King of Crime

Hypnotist of Modernity

and then there was little

Hans Beckert

child murderer who can’t help himself

based on the real

Vampire of Düsseldorf

who killed big wild swans in the park

drank their blood

gushers of deep blood

shooting from their necks.


by RC Miller

I’m choking on Chris Martin’s dick near my thymus.
It’s tattered with Amnesty International symbols.
St. Peter is hauling out newts.
The turkey and cheese ones are really wet.
I sit here tensed a stair cause I’d rather be alone,
Pounding away
South Jersey or somewhere pluses staple the clash below.
Around 11PM people finally change their drapes.
Too much much too soon, all that loose fabric
Opened wide.
The Mexican breakfast specials make my little mammal special.
And I always hear of a good
Industry or old age ahead.
But to be honest with you,
I don’t think I can wear pain to work.
Thing is,
There’s a numbness inscribed on every denouncement.


by Zach King-Smith


I stayed with a
woman who was
tough as a bed
of nails drunk.

When she’d
get drunk she’d
swing at me.

Take a swig
from the bottle
then swing.

I didn’t sleep
much at all
those few weeks.

One night
she swung at
me with everything
she had and hit me.

I told her to
get out the next

Some women are
lovely vicious things
and some men
take it like me.

I’ll never understand
those sleepless weeks.

I was a coward.


by R.B. Morgan

        I live in a nearly empty, dying

        Mid-Western State.

        It is the unwinding heart of the

        Broken hearted country.

        It is haunted by love:

        The absence, the with-holding, the cruel,

        Thoughtless promise of.

        Death on cue appears constantly,

        An ambiguous art-house character

        Either stalking through ruthlessly

        Or standing by a window-sill

        mild, soft-spoken, determined

        To be well dressed and cordial.

        It becomes, like love, whatever

        We can stand to believe,

        Either one great stroke of cancellation

        Or an eternity of praise and absolution.

        Or neither, depending on

        The urgency of our need,

        Rising in our memory, an

        Ancient predator circling

        The antic, screeching troop.

        Its close and real menace is

        What makes us love, and agonize

        For what must be paid

        As our own ransom,

        The unconscionable price.


        As a prisoner of this broad and bleak

        History, I am forced to love as some

        Are driven to flimsy ceremonies

        They don’t, they can’t believe in,

        But must cling to with devotion

        For the promise of a

        Momentary salvation,

        A savior and his millennium

        Endlessly deferred.


by Jack Henry

i drove my father’s pickup truck
to Hollywood and parked
on a side street just off of

a friend of mine played
in a punk rock band
and said i should come
to the show at Gazarri’s that night

it’s ten o’clock or better
before they take
the stage
and drive a crowd
of twenty-six into
a pitched frenzy
of booze and pill
inspired insanity

i met a girl with
a foreign name
and took her into
the bathroom
for a blowjob
but each stall
was occupied by
nervous junkies
or grunting
lost in their ass-fucking

she needed my cash
just as much as i
needed her mouth
she took my twenty
pushed me into a corner
and blew me with
balanced aggression

a few came in and watched
more junkies
more queer middle aged men
more punk rockers
looking to piss

she spit my cum in
a sink, accepted another
20-dollar lover and
disappeared into a stall

i took a piss, laughed
and just went back to the show

A Large Part of You Is Sad

by Brad Liening

The trick is containment.

I’m thinking: cancer,

zombies, fire.

Keeping the river

within its banks

and away from us.

The river is hard

to get out of

once you’re in it.

I’m thinking:

tall pine bending,


under invisible weight.

Going up

in a flash.

Zombies are

as frightening as anything

else in this world.

You’re miles


before you

even realize

you’re in the river.

The galaxy: dust,

gas, a couple cells

dividing in wet brains.


the forward things are sometimes left behind

by David LaBounty


the car came in, a Buick

from ’89, and the brake

pedal was going to the

floor and there were

leaks everywhere, like

so much automotive

stigmata, so we ripped

the tires off and

the back brakes

crumbled at our feet

and the kid driving

the car was full of

piercings and homemade

tattoos and said the car

only cost two hundred

bucks and that he

was going to call

a junkyard to haul it

away because it would

take a grand to make

the car safe and right.


he left, the car was

pushed out and it

sat for a day

until he came to clean

it out, leaving

the car empty save

a little notebook

on the cigarette

burned front seat

and I couldn’t help

but flip through it

after he left as it

was full of notes like


postal exam on Thursday,


Applebees Tuesday, first interview


Wal-Mart, Bob, second interview Monday


and I had to wonder why

he left the notebook

behind, as it seemed

to contain important

details of hope

but then I

realized why he left

it behind,

because in this,

the Motor City,


you’ve got to have wheels


to get a job.

Père Lachaise

by John Rocco


The dead like it here.

You can tell by the way

the hot skinny stray dogs

drink from the spigot.


In the middle of it all:

Man & Woman

pulling drawn inescapable

into the mouth of death

called Monument aux Morts.


Me and Jim

potless weedless

smokeless in a hot

foreign Paris lost

looking for

Lizard King grave.

Don’t find it

but walk into

band of sitting kids

smoking drinking

just back from


They invite us to

join them.


One day I’ll write

a novel called FUR

to thank those

dead kid angels.

Life & Death

were never so

stoned together.

that first beer at six in the morning on a workday

by Justin Hyde

subdues the fangs

of a mortgage

you never wanted,

clucking of the wife

you can’t stand,

job you can’t afford to quit.

tip the last drops

across your tongue

toss it into the back seat

gun the red

at fluer and mlk.

second and third

go down quick

breath mints

in the parking lot

thinking how

your father lived like this.

it cost him plenty

but you don’t give a shit.

can’t remember

the last time

you did.


by John Rocco


This really beautiful young woman

complained but cool about it

that when I was wasted

moon crashing into night

I licked her feet.

In a bar, in public,

trying to swallow

her flip flops.

I feel ridiculous

and ashamed.

She laughs it off

because she is cool

but I still feel great sorrow.

I feel great sorrow.

I just don’t remember doing it.


And all I want to do is remember it.

Lap Dance

by John Rocco


They bit me.

I bit them,

two of them,

double lap dance

(drunk dollars are always easy).

Ivy and Ella

split screen:

Ivy small

petit tight ass,

Ella big

round tight ass

and both on my face

they’re having a great time


and I didn’t


and I didn’t


and I didn’t


and I didn’t


and I didn’t


smothered dead


Fucking delirious in death,

ass killed, choked on ass

widening gyre in time

the universe revealing

its secrets to me:



Easter Island

Skull Island

Time travel

The Great Pyramids

and the Rough Beast

Squaring the Circle.

Consciousness is


train tracks

or a fountain

or lamps

or a flowing clear stream.

Consciousness is

two sweet Spanish asses

on my face.

Shot Girl

by John Rocco


Please forgive me,

Shot Girl,

for I was

blind drunk

(Jameson river Liffey drinking,

Gulliver style, boats and barges

and floating dead stiff old man leprechauns and all)


the Knight Templars


Tombs of the Blind Dead

(La Noche Del Terror Ciego)

who get their eyes

burned out for stabbing

virgins in their tits

and drinking tit blood

for eternal life.

Tits and blood to live forever!

The stupid poor ass


rose up and killed us



we are back

they are back

to buy beautiful colorful shots

in science fiction test tubes

from your tray

over tip you

talk you up

(“Do you like old guys?”)

suck a tube down from between your breasts

Italian Queens breasts

and all goodness

be damned.


The blind zombie

skeleton horsemen

ride again.

We ride again

for your shots

for the night

for you.


In The Grocery Store, Married Now

by Vin Sarno

Sweet Knees and I were ecstatic
And fast, shifting through aisles
Of shelved geometry,
Primary colors bursting around us like
Flash bulbs at our wedding,
The waxed floors reflecting our florescent smiles
And her wavy blond hair, a
Flowing flag.

I, so content and embolded,
Screamed Fuck It to the Universe
And, fists swinging and Wifey hollering,
Called out Heaven
For an epic now or never final battle
(Yes, so early in the game).
And when It so quickly accepted and appeared,
We tore It to pieces! like happy little speed freaks,
Without missing a beat,
Throwing Its chunks through the store
Like big wet confetti,
Leaving Its Lungs on the floor
By the children’s cereal,
Beating like a heart,
Flapping like a suffocating fish.

And not even short of breath,
I sent Wifey to go get the butcher,
So he could separate the good Meat
Out of the rest
For us.
I waited, watching over our kill,
Thinking condescendingly about
The ridiculous folly of bachelorhood
And how much better this victory was.

And twenty minutes later Sweet Knees came back,
Panting and teary eyed, without the butcher,
But holding a twin pack
Of English Muffins instead,
And staring at the slaughter
And promise,
We just stood there and
Laughed and laughed and laughed.

Sorry, Miller

by John Rocco


I’m sorry, Miller

but I have 62¢ in the bank all of it

collection agency vampire impervious

to the stake

bad weather, worse tomorrow

no vodka, less wine

holes in my socks and broken

heart bleeding shirt over her

like John Wayne killed at


I just didn’t know he could do that


like the text messages I got from her

reminding me I’m the happiest man alive

fucking lol again

and out.


by Howie Good

She came to my campus office
that Saturday right from the airport.
We hadn’t seen each other
in a couple of weeks.
I’d been struggling with a poem
the whole time she was gone.
I was pecking at it on my typewriter,

a new IBM Selectric that nonetheless
had a loud, annoying hum,
when there she was at the door.
I leaped out of my chair.
She rushed toward me.
There wasn’t another soul around.

I missed you, I said between kisses.
Me, too, she said.
We were both breathing hard.

To this day, I can’t remember how
I ended up back in the chair,
whether she pushed me down
or I half-sat, half-fell.
But then she was smiling over me
and reaching under her skirt,
pulling off her panties.

The typewriter hummed.

Foreign Static

by Andrew Taylor


Room 20 Hotel

Engerland, Amsterdam.

The double bed facing

the bathroom and the

TV perched above,

humming quietly

with foreign static.


The desk, behind

the headboard-

raised and the

view across the

street from the

alcove window.


A place to rest

our heads as we

get away from

it all for five days.


Leave Rick’s poems

on the desk

for when the need

arises. Put them

next to The Dead

Sea Poems.




Help me find my

safe spot – the

cool bathroom

with equally

cool tiles – as

my heart beats

far too fast and

my mind

drifts from

East to West


Premonitions and

fright as the fear

grips my soul and

twists me through

180 degrees


‘Hush, it’s going

to be alright’

I don’t believe

her as the tears

roll down her

scared face

like blood

from a crown

of thorns


5mg of Valium

to calm the

racing heart

‘What about

the soul?’

I cry Try

and embrace

the comforts of

my madness

as I twitch

and shiver

on the cool

cotton sheets


her bedside lamp

casts a glow

around her head

like Gabriel’s halo


as I shuffle

towards the safe spot

she follows me in

as I splash cold

water onto a face

torn from reality


Do I really look

this bad? Will I

always be like

this? What does

she see in me?

Why is it that

it is her here?


I don’t follow the

path that leads

back to my parents

safe in their bed

not knowing of

the Hell I am in


it’s too dangerous

a place to go


‘Can I switch

the light off

now? I’ll switch

it on if you get



lying on my back

listening to the

splinters of rain

bouncing off car





Breakfast and the

omelette and coffee

are hitting the spot.


Back in room 20I

ease back listening to

Kent‘s Isola and am

transported to a world

where I would visit again.


Andrew Taylor is co-editor and publisher of erbacce and erbacce-press (, based in Liverpool, UK.

my wife is just that much hotter

by David LaBounty


my age and

she had a


face and

an alright

kind of

smile on top

of sagging

jeans and

a faded sweater


the car was


from the

early nineties

a rag of rust

and metal and

vinyl and she

told me it was

leaking here

and grinding

there and she held

my hand for

just a moment

as I took

the keys

and I thought

nothing of

it as I put

the car up

in the air

and tore

off the wheels

and it was a

thousand bucks

with a leaking

radiator and

oil pan along

with brakes

all the

way around.


I wrote an

estimate and

brought it

to the counter

where she leaned

into me as I

went line by

line, a hundred

bucks here and

a couple hundred

bucks there and

the bigger the

dollars the more

she leaned her

chest right

against my

shoulder as

if the touch

of her nipples

through the

blended cotton


make her


go away

and I have

to tell you

that the

price never


did change.


by Charles P. Ries


I’m tired of being a good Buddhist.

I’d like a few of my old attachments

back. Wrap a tasty wad of anger

around my fist and pound it home.

Just one compassion-free day.

A day without detachment,

discernment, impermanence

and right action. I’d let my ex-wife

know that someone is alive in

here and “Hell if I care you’re

a young soul with a tortured past!”


Compassion in the hands of a novice

is like wearing a sign on your forehead

“Please beat the shit out of me.”

So, come to think of it, I guess I do

have a few attachments dangling

from my purified psyche. Maybe

I ought to kick his holiness in the God

Damn Ass for putting me in this prison

beneath the Bodhi Tree.


Charles P. Ries lives in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He has received four Pushcart Prize nominations for his writing. He is the author of THE FATHERS WE FIND, a novel based on memory and five books of poetry. He is the poetry editor for Word Riot ( He is on the board of the Woodland Pattern Bookstore ( and a member of the Wisconsin Poet Laureate Commission. You may find additional samples of his work by going to:

day dreams

by David McLean

my nightmares all became daydreams
without any alteration of content,
once when all the devils became welcome,
and cosmos and its godlessness

no longer mattered. there is nothing wrong
with being dead forever and time and its “it was” –
they are nothing and so dreadful
that i tend to love them, nowadays;

such sweet fields where the void plays
our slimy histories, all the devils
drunk as old soldiers in me,
and that glorious future with no me in

a dreadful destiny i tend to like –
reason’s eternal night


David McLean’s blog:



by Josh Olsen


KT said she feels like I make him up,

but I think when I talk about him

it’s the only time she ever really believes me.


I tell her that I dream about him –

mom brings him to Birthdays or Easter.

I bump into him at the Pic-A-Nic Basket

buying pepperoni stix.

I pull up next to him at a red-light.


Sometimes he confronts me.

Asks where I’ve been all this time.

Why I’ve been running away.

Other times I break his nose or tell him

my mom didn’t deserve

the way he treated her. Treated us.

That he turned my brother into a cutter.


Sometimes I wake up feeling guilty.

That I should make amends.

Should write him a letter and

let him meet his grandkids.


Then mom tells me she talked to him

the other day. That he called her

a whore. Called my sisters bastards.

Called me a coward.


by Josh Olsen


I turned away from mom’s breath

when she whispered into my ear.

Hints of vomit escaped her thick veil of perfume.


For years, she “improved” herself

sticking pens down her throat.

To keep myself from crying,

I made cruel jokes.


As the purging became more frequent

so did her perfuming –

her favorite, a heady opium oil,

a birthday present from an ex-boyfriend.


The scent penetrated everything.

Her letters funked up the mailbox.


My children needed sponge baths

after she babysat.

She used to smell cold,

like snow or cucumbers.

A Texas Gal Apologizes

by Misti Rainwater-Lites


I’m sorry for shooting your ass.

I thought you were a coyote.

I thought you were on my land

for no good reason.

I thought you were here to fuck shit up.

If God leads us to it he’ll get us through it.

Your ass will heal in time.

Everything happens for a reason.

Does this pulpit make my ass look big?

I’ve got a really sweet recipe for monster cookies.

I’ll share it with you.

My ass is so fat it’s ridiculous.

Jesus loves my ass, though, so I can’t complain.

I really am sorry for shooting your ass.

I really did think you were a coyote.

I’ve got cows and marigolds to protect.

Please don’t sue me.


Misti’s blog: