Tuesday, May 30, 2023

A Mason Jar Epiphany By Kushal Poddar

"No one poses more danger 
than a self-taught sommelier."
I sip the shine brewed in a mason jar
by my friend, and the moon is high
in the sky; strawberries sit on the plate.
The rustling tells me that the neighbour
make a fuss in his garden next ours.

A sudden cloud pours; the world reels 
as we, slightly askew by the brew, run,
and see the neighbour still watering
his flowers holding an umbrella in one hand.
How easy it feels to giggle at an irony
without any grasp about the logic behind
that man's action or the needs of his plants. 


Kushal Poddar, the author of 'Postmarked Quarantine' has eight books to his credit. He is a journalist, father, and the editor of 'Words Surfacing’. His works have been translated into twelve languages. https://twitter.com/Kushalpoe

Friday, May 26, 2023

Above All Else, to Thine Own Self By B. Lynne Zika

After 30 years,

he’s seen your hair uncombed.

No makeup. Even days when

ill or too fatigued, you haven’t bathed,

much less thought about being presentable.

Such familiarity offers

a variety of roads. You might

give up romance altogether,

staying to care for children or bills

or the expectations you have of yourselves

and each other.

You might stay for comfort or affection,

tending to each other

the best way you know how:

Bringing her coffee in the morning.

Letting him know how his hard work

makes this world bearable.

Or you might fan the flames

of the fires which first brought you together

and remind each other

what you saw there in the first place—

the way his sweater draped

around your shoulders,

the way her perfume lingered

long after you’d taken her home

so that you sniffed the car seats

to remember her presence.

Whichever way you go,

make it a choice. When you’re tempted

to tell her how she thinks of no one

but herself, remember the nights

you staggered in from work

and she brought you a cool drink,

the ice nearly spilling over the rim

the way you like it.

Remember the night your daughter was born

he paced the hallway, not even minding

when you yelled at him to get the hell out.

Choose to wake up in the same house

every day. And if you can’t choose it

but stay anyway, for God’s sake

know why and choose that.

If your dreams take you elsewhere,

dream. And if the entire world

refuses to forgive you,

be content with yourself, knowing

the eyes which look back at you

from the mirror

are no one else’s but your own.


B. Lynne Zika, a long-term closed-captioning editor, is an award-winning poet and photographer. Her recent book, The Strange Case of Eddy Whitfield, multiformat, is available through standard booksellers. Her father, also a writer/poet, bequeathed her this advice: Make every word count.

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

while i was on the phone by j.j. campbell

should have married the

one that locked her office 

door and masturbated at 

her desk while i was on 

the phone with her

i tried to get her to mail 

me those panties, but she 

never did

i never was the type of guy 

that could just go up to a 

beautiful woman and ask 

her to sit on my face if she 

could find the time between 

drinks and laughs

hell, i have only bought 

a woman a drink at the bar 

twice in my life 

the first one was married 

and the second one fucked 

someone in the bathroom 

before i even got back to 


needless to say, 

i drank both of those

long island iced teas

mumbling something

about piss poor timing


J.J. Campbell (1976 - ?) is old enough to know where the bodies are buried. He's been widely published over the years, most recently at Synchronized Chaos, Cajun Mutt Press, The Rye Whiskey Review, Misfit Magazine and just good poems. You can find him most of the time on his mildly entertaining blog, evil delight. (https://evildelights.blogspot.com)

Friday, May 19, 2023

Away From Home By Jerome Berglund

away from home,
learn fast
which hand can shake

Jerome Berglund, recently nominated for the Touchstone awards and Pushcart Prize, has previously published stories in Grim & Gilded, Bright Flash, Quibble, Paragon Press, Stardust and the Watershed Review, a play in Iris Literary Journal, and haibun in Drifting Sands, the Other Bunny, and Babylon Sidedoor.  


Tuesday, May 16, 2023

Thinning Out The Library by Kevin M. Hibshman

It's that time again to purge my bookshelves of items I never return to.

I'm getting rid of a bunch of Ginsberg's books.

I recognize the historical importance of HOWL and I dig that he turned himself into a funny type

of icon but his stuff just doesn't get me off.

There are many things I must keep.

Books that are trusted friends one holds onto until the (real) end.

These I go to when troubled or if I need a strong quote.

The pages have become interwoven into my daily existence.

That makes them sacred.

I believe I may be continuing in John Wiener's odd, overlooked tradition.

I'm not up on his work but in one of her poems Diane diPrima describes his style thusly:

“not breaking grammar's rules, nor respecting them, uncouth and incomplete, definitive,”

In another piece she notes that he is “mad and in makeup.”

I'm not a drag queen but I do like wearing a bit of eye shadow now and again.

Over the years there have been a few books I have thrown out in haste and now regret it.

They were not literature but I sorely miss them.


Kevin M. Hibshman has had his poetry, prose, reviews and collages published around the world.

He has edited his own poetry journal, FEARLESS for the past thirty years. He has authored sixteen chapbooks, including Incessant Shining (2011, Alternating Current Press).His latest books: Cease To Destroy, Just Another Small Town Story  and The Mirror Masks Nothing, a co-authored book with John Patrick Robbins, published by Whiskey City Press, are now available on AMAZON.


Friday, May 12, 2023

Cut Loose By Curtis Blazemore

He had electric hair that stuck up around his head like tendrils
She wrapped her legs tightly around his waist

He had not meant to get so beastly drunk
Like he slit his wrists in a bathtub and the blood is all over the water

Under her careful hand, a spatter of stars—phosphor blue—arc from the curve

She stood on tiptoes, holding the trunk of the tree for balance
He looked down at his body and drew in a sharp breath

He could feel the blade of an ax pressing against the top of his head

He woke happily spent with bird breath
Alone, a paper airplane flying under flowering dogwood branches

Curtis Blazemore has been on the planet far too long, publishing various works in between having bad luck and making people rethink their faith in humanity. No matter. He sees sentences in the exhaled smoke and scribbles furiously. He hopes someday to be able to afford a Greyhound bus ticket to Graceland.

Tuesday, May 9, 2023

Judgment Call by Skaja Evens

The only thing keeping her from being classified a sociopath 

According to a licensed therapist

Is the fact that she is capable of empathy

So how does one explain away the criteria

Symptoms of problematic behavior

Barely kept in check

Violence simmering under the paper thin surface

Having her own code of right and wrong

As part of her psychosis

Skaja Evens is a writer and artist in SE Virginia. She’s been published in various places, including The Rye Whiskey Review, Synchronized Chaos, Spillwords Press, Ink Pantry, Medusa’s Kitchen, Blue Pepper, Mad Swirl, among others.

Friday, May 5, 2023

Honey, We’re Home By Murders Row

So many voices, all locked within one mind.

All set on seeing your demise.

Fiends as friends, not all the broken toys have been put away in the asylum's proverbial toy box.

The rains outside pale in stark comparison to the storms within.

I wrap my hands around your throat to entice, but what if I do not release my grip?

To view every room as a gallery and every sleeping body as a canvas of a crime scene's future investigation.

Was it a moment of insanity? Or a smoldering fire’s apex into the macabre?

Did they die quickly, or did their agonies linger?

Does it truly matter when all the pawns are dead, nonetheless?

Knock twenty times if need be until the skulls collapse.

Silence the desire, and please forgive the mess.

Murders Row is not for you to understand, only for you to read and decipher as you will.
We are many, don’t look for us. 
And pray we never find you.

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

The Village In The Shadow of A Windmill By Kushal Poddar

The constant circle of the windmill
makes the goats' eyes eerie.
Those belong to the serpents. To the angels. 

My ex-workman uncle slips into sleep
in this laid off land. The windmill
irrigates the fields filled with the creepers.
The squeaks and whooshes stream over and in between.

The goats refill their mouth.
Sleep reloads its magazine, and I pick up
the pieces of my uncle.
Everytime someone says 'soul' I cringe. 


Kushal Poddar, the author of 'Postmarked Quarantine' has eight books to his credit. He is a journalist, father, and the editor of 'Words Surfacing’. His works have been translated into twelve languages. 
Twitter- https://twitter.com/Kushalpoe