Friday, July 21, 2023

What The Cat Dragged In by B. Lynne Zika

Brane and Ellie quietly hold 

her mother’s ashes

until conditions make way 

for a small ceremonial burying,

the urn to be housed 

alongside her father’s coffin

in a Long Island family plot.

A gathering of friends and family.

I found my son

face down on the living room floor.

I fuss at him 

each time I clean the damned litterbox

of the cat he left behind.


Older calico lost her human.

Currently cared for

by original owner’s mother.


Will you be the one 

to make the arrangements?

Decide what mode and when?

Will you sort through clothes,

puzzle over passwords,

notify banks, post offices, friends,

cancel appointments, 

terminate subscriptions?

With all tomorrow’s dreams broken,

with unpaid bills, unanswered mail,

and all the tears you haven’t shed,

will you feed the cat?

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, July 18, 2023

Self-Awareness by Uchechukwu Onyedikam and Christina Chin

summer vacation

buried in dust

an automobile

in the safari desert 


Uchechukwu Onyedikam is a Nigerian creative artist based in Lagos, Nigeria.  His poems have appeared in Amsterdam Quarterly, Brittle Paper, Poetic Africa, Hood Communists and in print anthologies. Christina Chin and he have co-published Pouring Light on the Hills (2022),

Christina Chin is a painter and haiku poet from Malaysia. She is a four-time recipient of top 100 in the mDAC Summit Contests, exhibited at the Palo Alto Art Center, California.  She is 1st prize winner of the 34th Annual Cherry Blossom Sakura Festival 2020 Haiku Contest and 1st prize winner in the 8th Setouchi Matsuyama 2019 Photohaiku Contest. She has been published in numerous journals, multilingual journals, and anthologies, including Japan's prestigious monthly Haikukai Magazine.

Friday, July 14, 2023

Ghost Fishing By Keith Pearson

Sometimes when he’s fishing at the pond across from the abandoned rail station he swears he can hear the distant thunder of an approaching train or the pierce of the whistle as it clears the crossing on Main Street or the slow drawdown of it pulling into the station fifty years deserted.

Keith Pearson lives in southern New Hampshire and works in the math department at a local high school.

Tuesday, July 11, 2023

Ten Ways to Play Solitaire By Eric Chiles

There's this and the deck of cards on

the table offering ways to spend some time

with ironic games such as "Betrothal"

which the book says is rarely consummated.

But if you’re tired, simply take a nap

and play the solitary game of dreams.

Or if you’re restless, then take a walk,

exploring a quiet stretch of woods,

or get the keys and drive down twisting

roads, wasting gas while your thoughts

ramble until you wander home late at

night for a takeout Chinese dinner date

eaten alone watching reruns in the dark.

And when sleep still won’t come, there’s the

computer screen with the online casino

or the digital illusion of connectivity.

The next day, zombified, you sit

silently through a team meeting in a daze.

Afterward you can’t remember a thing

that was said. And so it goes every day,

for months and years, cards piling up

on the waste pile of detachment until

you’ve run through the deck and what's

left is the black king buried by himself.

After a newspaper career, Eric Chiles began teaching writing and journalism at colleges in eastern Pennsylvania. He is the author of the chapbook "Caught in Between," and his poetry has appeared in Allegro, Blue Collar Review, Chiron Review, Main Street Rag, Plainsongs, Rattle, and elsewhere.

Friday, July 7, 2023

Please Burn Your Acoustic Guitar By JPR

And spare the world being tormented by your ear rape manifestos of relationships you never truly had.

Allow people to drink their coffee in peace.

Nobody ever rocked the house strumming peacefully away.

Sex, drugs & rock n roll songs about Satan; the hippies can all drown in all that peace and love bullshit.

The Renaissance Faire is about as happening as the bingo hall, and even those tossers would tell you to shut the fuck up.

Nobody needs to share their feelings, much like a bathroom mirror doesn't make you a model; it just shows your desperation for attention.

And don't forget to check that background and always make sure to flush.

Because shit stinks, as so does folk music and open mics.

Let's start a fire and burn it all to the ground.

Peace, love, and understanding is the other fucking way.

Welcome to the un-sunny side of the street.

Y’all keep those bullshit and butterflies to yourself, and sincerely,

Fuck off!

JPR holds the bronze medal in competitive couch surfing and lives in a remote basement in an abandoned church somewhere in Romania.

He has been published in The Occultism Quarterly, Screw Magazine, Barely Legal, Tweekers Unhealthy Living Journal,The New Yorker, Better Homes And Gardens, Field And Stream, & The Dope Fiend Daily.

He paused his video game to write this bio.

You're welcome!

Tuesday, July 4, 2023

Ghost by Steven Bruce

To roam a silent sea
reaching far as eyes can see.

To be salt in the blue
lung of Icarus.

To be a forgotten rabbit
in the magician’s black hat.

To be an invitation lost in the post.

To be a mite muscling through
the dust of day-to-day life.

To be a plump callus
on the damp palm of Sisyphus.

To be a feast spoiling in the hall
of some forgotten king.

Steven Bruce is a poet, writer, and award-winning author. His poetry and short stories have appeared in magazines, webzines, and anthologies worldwide. In 2018, he graduated from Teesside University with a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing. He is the recipient of the Literary Titan Golden Book Award, the Firebird Book Award, and the Indies Today Five-star Recommendation Badge.