all the stupid lights
and all the stupid songs warm my insides
and I refuse to give two fucks
on icy bone quiet mornings
wet trees flex their naked sinews black against the bright grey sky,
dead leaves cover sidewalks reflecting morbid electric gold up my woolen calf,
blood rushing in my ears in time with sleigh bells’ looped recordings
days live short lives,
their early death brings quiet glooms
of late Autumn evenings
as lights flicker on
and begin their overnight slow-blink
reflecting on plastic tacked over windows
and wet cement steps
lousy with grit,
inside the coma furnace dry howls
warm breath up pyjama backs
at blurred silent lights
dizzy in tinsel vertigo
cinder black backside
side of the road snowman
coal town eyes
stale beer taverns,
cold cracked linoleum
old wood floors
neons of beers
fill the windows
the old houses slouch
bound by sad blinker lights
sharp black shadows
an old tire
from the wash lines
John Thomas Menesini is a jerk. Find him at I Am a Narcissistic Asshole & I Say Terrible Shit.
Tomorrow will be blustery, easterly
and white; the cupboard bitter
and the trees bare but for
the grey backed crow
you’ll have for dinner
if it doesn’t take your
Tomorrow, though no one asked them to,
snowflakes will again
fasten themselves to the ground
January 1st, 2014
after Bill Backer, Billy Davis, Roger Cook & Roger Greenaway
I’d like to teach the world to wail
like an angel come up from Hell.
I’d like to bring it to my flat
and keep it prisoner here.
I’d like to build the world a gallows
and furnish it with rope;
grow bladderworts, albino rats
and seagulls full of hate.
I’d like the world to give me something rarer
than a black man in Mormon underwear
admit the shit it does not give;
let that truth go through the hills,
like an apparent suicide about which
no one’s sorry to hear.
That’s the song I’ll make you sing,
harmonious as a get tough policy gone wrong;
until the world steps off
the tall building of its own mistakes;
having ordered itself to cease existing.
Kevin Higgins is co-organiser of Over The Edge literary events in Galway City. He has published four collections of poems: Kevin’s most recent collection of poetry, The Ghost In The Lobby, was launched at this year’s Cúirt Festival. His poems also feature in the anthologies Identity Parade – New British and Irish Poets (Bloodaxe, 2010) and in The Hundred Years’ War: modern war poems (Ed Neil Astley, BloodaxeMay 2014). His poetry was recently the subject of a paper titled ‘The Case of Kevin Higgins: Or The Present State of Irish Poetic Satire’ given by David Wheatley at a symposium on satire at the University of Aberdeen; David Wheatley’s paper can be read in full here. Mentioning The War, a collection of his essays and reviews, was published by Salmon in April, 2012. Kevin’s blog is http://mentioningthewar.blogspot.ie
Storm in Athens
Lightning makes the coldest light;
shows me the laurel tree as it flails
against the window, black
fruit like eyes peering in.
Shows me us in bed
not touching, clutching
the blanket’s satin edge.
This storm is sex sounds
behind the wall, a biker
battering a car roof with his helmet,
feral cats showing claws
yards from the floodlit Acropolis.
It’s light-up Santas outside shops
full of prayer beads and life-size wooden cocks.
It’s the skeleton of the Christmas tree
the rioters set fire to,
a cab driver shouting Call the Mister!
Broken glass and water rising.
REO Speedwagon’s Greatest Hits.
The lightning shows me myself –
over-ripe, easily bruised.
What can we mean by justice
when history’s heavy fruit
bends our branches to the ground?
How can I hear you
above my heart’s own feral sounds?
The Way You Die Again In My Dreams
You slide away from me
down into the orange
The runners of your sled
I stay behind on the hilltop,
as still as the black barked trees.
My fingers are stiff with cold.
I never see you reach the bottom.
As still as the black barked trees,
I stay behind on the hilltop.
the runners of your sled.
Down into the orange
you slide, away from me.
I’m Always Running Into Him These Days
His hands are cold, he needs
a shave. In the breeze,
his red scarf flaps. You love me,
he says smugly, think about me
constantly. Admit it:
I shape your days.
He tugs my wrist.
Each step I take toward
him makes colours ripen,
the crust of frost
on the grass
Where will I turn up next,
I gaze into the face of Death.
His red scarf flaps in the breeze.
Susan Millar DuMars has published three poetry collections with Salmon Poetry, the most recent of which, The God Thing, appeared in March, 2013. She also published a book of short stories, Lights in the Distance, with Doire Press in 2010. Her work has appeared in publications in the US and Europe and in several anthologies, including The Best of Irish Poetry 2010. Born in Philadelphia, Susan lives in Galway, Ireland, where she and her husband Kevin Higgins have coordinated the Over the Edge readings series since 2003. She is the editor of the 2013 anthology Over the Edge: The First Ten Years.
I saw your twin on Spring St. He looked like Christmas. His Santa outfit, complete with full, white beard, furry red jacket, and black patent leather belt was perfect. His belly looked like yours. Like you, he had a pit bull on a leash, but this one sported Petco antlers and the booties so common on these dirty, LA streets. A huge red bell clanged from his spiked collar with each tail wag. When Santa crouched low to rearrange the antlers, his red jacket rode up, his elastic-waistband pants slid down, and I saw the words “Doggy Style” tramp-stamped across his lower back in four inch, luridly colored, Gothic letters. It reminded me how much I missed you, how doggy style was our favorite position, the one where you achieved maximum penetration, I didn’t have to look at you, and every day was Christmas.
Alexis Rhone Fancher is the author of How I Lost My Virginity To Michael Cohen and Other Heart Stab Poems (Sybaritic Press, 2014). Find her poems in Rattle, The MacGuffin, Fjords, Slipstream, H_NGM_N, The Lummox, Bloom Literary Journal, Broadzine, and elsewhere. Her photos have been published worldwide, including the covers of Witness and The Mas Tequila Review. Since 2013 she’s been nominated for two Pushcart Prizes and a Best of The Net award. She is poetry editor of Cultural Weekly. Alexis and her husband live and collaborate in an 8th floor loft/studio in downtown Los Angeles. They have a spectacular view. www.alexisrhonefancher.com
A Taxi Driver’s Observations, Christmas Eve
You wear your new love bites
Like a priceless necklace
Bruised jewels, clustered around
Your soft, flaccid neck
I am Loved
I am Desired, you proclaim
As you stand up and piss on
The backseat of my taxi
Loretta Kennedy is a freelance writer living in Cork, Ireland with her partner and three children. She contributes feature articles to several magazines and newspapers in the UK and Ireland and her poetry has been published internationally. She has a weakness for charity shops, red wine and the wild Atlantic.
Evidence of a Diary
February 12, 2000
Sucking whiskey from silver flasks
Stealing aluminum lids from neighbors’ trashcans
Riding down the hills of Blue Slide Park.
October 47, 1913
They say, my name is an omen.
They say, knock on wood.
They say, bit of red,
A bit of satin.
The boy hears, Satan
September 7, 1703
Only a sparrow stood between
saving him and leaving.
Only my grandmother’s offer
Her mouth, a cup of tea leaves.
[ illegible ]
A primitive story.
September 30, 1839
This is the month
my mother warned me about.
The month of singeing wings
on yellow light.
This is the month
half-beating itself against the screendoor
battering its wings against the whitelight
littering the porch, rusted
April 20, 2037
girlhood rose upside-down and backwards
objects in the rearview mirror appeared distorted
wearing white became a promise and a choice
October 5, 2013
A female can reproduce without a male.
This is proven of a shark in captivity.
December 12, 2014
His round hands
wounding hair, lips
rounding chest, fists
wounding hips, ribs
April 20, 2037
Today we find fingers
July 14, 1987
The animals know they are not separate.
This does stop them from killing one another.
May 1, 1924
We leave the world
from the chests of wounded civilians.
The way we come in.
Dana Killmeyer is the author of a poetry collection, Pendulums of Euphoria (Six Gallery Press, 2009), and a novel, Paradise or the Part That Dies (Six Gallery Press, 2006), a semi-autobiographical account of her time working on a small farm in South Florida.
Lamont Off To Work
Tuesday was freezing again, Lamont crawled out of bed,
it was an unpleasant feeling as he could no longer tether his legs
around the electrical blanket keeping him warm,
shook off the frost, moved his aching bones down the stairs,
another fresh day off into the world he thought as he opened the back door,
embraced the burst of cold, drug the hose outside and doused his head in water,
embraced the burst of cold, used his lucky red towel to shake the ice
brushed his teeth with a toothbrush stuck to his tongue
creaked back up the old wooden planks, and slicked back his hair,
off to work off to work off to work in the cold, two pairs of socks
four undershirts, and a coat to zip up the 98.6
Lamont was headed for work
he plowed his way down the old rust streets, trying to stay on time,
gosh he thought, how nice it would be to have a hot shower,
just then an SUV too close to curb pushed all the dirty muck right to his pants,
soaked dirty and cold Lamont thought he should wish for an igloo & see what he got then!
But it was all for naught, as he lit up a smoke, puffed it in great hurried heaves,
handed the rest to a beggar,
down to the train below
he knew the subways cars would be heated,
pulled out his book and began to read like a king!
James Browning Kepple slips through the cracks, you can find his fallen feathers somewhere on subway track nyc, if you stillwish to take the a train to the beach broken and poor, he will gladly take your hand and walk footless to the surf and on www.undergroundbooks.org
FAKE FUR CHRISTMAS
When you’re eighteen
a forty-year-old guy
with an any-time-now heart attack flush
hires you to work in a fabric store
because he loves to stare at your T & A
from his office—a plywood command post
ten feet above the floor, where his red face
leers like a lecherous fascist balloon.
He puts you with the slab foam & fake fur,
knowing you hate to sew more than a button—
although one day, just to spite him,
you wear the purple corduroy potato-sack
jumper you made in high school as a fuck you
to the compulsory Home Economics
of a nun who never cooked or did laundry.
What would Sister make of this fur, staticky
as the shocking hair of a Wishnik troll doll,
served up in as many unnatural colors?
The guys who buy the foam & fake fur
like you too, the way you have to bend
over the cutting table, the way you shimmy
with the juddering foam-shearing saw.
They tell you their fake fur fantasies,
the only thing moving at Christmastime,
when nobody’s sweet Grandma sews.
They’re using the stuff to create love pits
in their vans, their boats, their bedrooms.
Sparks fly from your fingers to their minds.
A week before Christmas, you’re about to close,
when some guy with a ponytail & green eyes
buys a yard of black to display the silver
rings he’s made. He picks one out for you.
You’re ready to go with Ponytail for a drink
when Mr. Pfeiffer groans from his Nazi perch.
It’s not lust or jealousy—it’s the big one,
arriving like an early present from Satan.
Ponytail gallops up the stairs to do CPR.
The ambulance wails, blinking like Rudolph.
As they carry Mr. Pfeiffer out, his watery eyes
plead, Redd up before yinz leave, would ya?
Ponytail leaves with the paramedics,
but the mood was ruined anyway.
You reroll the bolts of false promise,
and as Dorothy & Vi dim the lights,
you run your hands over their flanks,
just to see some electricity
that comes from the atmosphere,
not some lewdly winking dying tree.
Angele Ellis wishes everyone a Very Krampus Christmas. Author of Arab on Radar (Six Gallery Press)—whose poems earned her a fellowship from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts—and Spared (A Main Street Rag Editors’ Choice Chapbook), her poetry and prose have appeared in over forty publications and eight anthologies. She lives in Pittsburgh.