Friday, March 29, 2024

Dearest Lepidopterist by Kelly Moyer

I am a butterfly,
free as a chihuahua
in a low-budget kennel,
light as your lead foot
in an I-40 passing lane,
fertile as a mule, napping
in the ol’ banana tree
and every bit as mortal
as my childhood kitten’s
restless, dare I say,
vindictive spirit.
So, you just might want
to put up that net,
my friend, because I
think you’ve mistaken
who’s holding the pins.


Kelly Moyer is an award-winning poet and fiber artist, who pursues her muse through the cobbled streets of New Orleans’s French Quarter. When not writing or weaving, she is likely to be found wandering the mountains of North Carolina, where she resides with her partner and two philosopher kittens, Simone and Jean-Paul. Hushpuppy, her collection of short-form poetry, was recently released by Nun Prophet Press.

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

Identity In Viral Times by Marc Darnell

Is that my brother behind that mask
whom I grew up with fifty years ago?
I'm too far away to ask

his name, can't take the risk
of getting closer to touch, to know
if that’s my brother behind that mask

whom in the summer I would bask
with in the white sun. We would go
to the lawn's edge, too far away to ask

our dad if when the day turned to dusk
he would take us to the car show.
Is that my brother behind that mask

who in his sad days tapped the cask,
then took his bloated body in tow
and now's too far away to ask

why he left me with the task
of burying our father, his grave I sow.
Is that my brother behind that mask?
I'm too far away to ask.


Marc Darnell is an online tutor and lead custodian in Omaha NE. He received his MFA from the University of Iowa, and has published poems in The Lyric, Blue Unicorn, Ragazine, The Literary Nest, The Pangolin Review, and elsewhere. His newest book is The Sower from Cyberwit Press. He has forthcoming books from Impspired Books and White Violet Press.

Friday, March 22, 2024

My Whole Life by Stephen Jarrell Williams

Dirty down and under
I haven't had a bath in years

don't get me wrong
I take showers sometimes
washing the blood off

I've fought our wars
here in the states
under the table I'm a better shot

never married
but plenty of divorces
false papers I always fall for

I've never cried
not even when I was born

I'm undercover

My whole life
a prayer.


Stephen Jarrell Williams has had over a thousand poems published here and there and distant places where the light still glows. He can be found on X/Twitter @papapoet

Tuesday, March 19, 2024

The Key to Rebecca? By Bruce Morton

There it was, eye catching,
In this morning’s newspaper.
The police report noted that
A woman called to say she
Lost the key to her handcuffs.
She was wearing them it seems.
This is the naked truth, I am not
Inventing this. The officer’s
Key could not free her from her
Bondage. It was reported, just
So, black and white, no blush,
No resolution. Everything is
Left to the imagination.


Bruce Morton divides his time between Montana and Arizona. He was formerly dean at the Montana State University library.

Friday, March 15, 2024

The Obese Wizards Convention By JPR

Will gather at a rented hall and some nondescript Holiday Inn.
To sell their trinkets and praise their nonexistent powers.

To charge their crystals and rub their wands together and catch a ride home from their mothers.

As they have to clear out, for the new age healers are booked for tomorrow.
As the comic book nerds scoff, eager for a turf war as the idiots hunting Sasquatch roll their eyes, banging on trees as a grizzly licks his lips.

The old-world secrets aren't sold at Barnes and Noble, but the sexy satanist always prefers his wicked attire off the Hot Topic shelves.

As the sad old warlocks sit, banned, casually jerking off from the dark side of the food court. Oh, the tragedy.

To be so very special in an irrelevant era of social media whores.

While the dinosaur truckers chase their lizards, counting their dollars.
To choose between a fully loaded chilly dog or a shower, for it’s at least been three weeks.

While the goth girls keep dancing, oblivious to it all.
For if this neon cast coffin is rocking.

Well, my darling, it appears it’s a mad, sad, fully fucked world, after all.

John Patrick Robbins is the curator of the John Patrick Robbins Occult Museum and Underwater Reading series located on Knotts Island, North Carolina.

He is the current Poet Laureate of Hell. If you speak his name on Facebook and acknowledge you are friends, the other open mic poets won't like you or share their Ramen noodles with you.

He writes books with words in them.
He just opened his themed restaurant: The Donner Party All You Can Eat Buffet.

He uses black sorcery called humor that offends idiots who need to purchase a tractor to pull a needle out their asses and lighten the fuck up.

He enjoys binge drinking and summoning demons to play Monopoly with while listening to death metal because Christian Rock sucks donkey dick.

He is also the greatest bio writer in history.

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Murderer Escapes Custody in Philadelphia by Ace Boggess

Sorry, City, for your night of terrors,
locked vaults of basement panic rooms.
Know this: I’m not on your side,
never your side. I root for villains
in our American tragedy.
The worst men I’d name friend
were I still in, a con in uniform.
Of course, I hope he harms no one,
but hold a ticket to watch the film
about his long black train.
A vulgar race toward any border
won’t end with roses, or rather, will.
There’s no such thing as a clean getaway.
Hellhounds are hammering their paws,
humming, lusty to devour his toes.
Better that than walled off in the pen
where a criminal dies once more each day,
or makes it out alive to die again.


Ace Boggess is author of six books of poetry, most recently Escape Envy. His writing has appeared in Indiana Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, Notre Dame Review, Harvard Review, and other journals. An ex-con, he lives in Charleston, West Virginia, where he writes and tries to stay out of trouble. His seventh collection, Tell Us How to Live, is forthcoming in 2024 from Fernwood Press.

Friday, March 8, 2024

How The Windows Fall Silent by Giulio Maffii

The droplet falls at a right angle - we are all invaded - but the story isn't about this

How the windows fall silent the droplet falls at a right angle

- we are all confused - but the book isn't about this

How the wounds fall silent, every dispersion scrapes the patience of olives, and the

boy doesn't apply himself

How the wounds fall silent and moreover no one has seen -no one ever sees- a

deception life that awaits us without generic warnings of danger or sanctity

They fall silent like wounds then they crinkle fold into pockets leap like a tiger

instinctively toward the last surviving man in the shopping mall

They fall silent like windows and you don't recognize the inside from the outside

the glass from the void of air the manual from the instructions

in another language the magic of photo editing

The windows fall silent on the edge of evening in the barycenter of balance between

revealing the secret or enclosing the family within a quiz

How people fall silent

You will never be people neither glue nor nervous lines the autism of self while

deserting from yourself we take note we make a list

Do you put life among useless things?

It falls silent like people where did you vanish? neither how nor why questions in

tables and a layout of nails surnames wobble and mix

Where did you all disappear to?

People how they fall silent or poison themselves dancing and hurl silences into their

ears the important thing is Sunday cleaning the important thing was your lives the

manual of destruction

From the side of the bed you give outlines within every sky that refuses to open

We are slaves to overflowing drawers mounted upside down

slipknots mothballs and a similar date for everyone

The bed on one side the importance of roots -discovery on a bed-

A line bender fake plagiarist inventor

This is the world this is the earth this is the story roots and plagiarisms

Pity traversed us in smaller shoes in the to-do list but where were you all?

The last time within the faint light of phosphorus

Let yourself be embraced by the deceit of forgiveness by the noonday fire in your chest

They've made you a prisoner They've made you

Shattered every encounter from skies so akin to gods yet always queued in the love between cars

and traffic lights

The fire sets the windows ablaze our fertility unyielding filling rooms with open legs.

Perhaps it's not the places it's the objects that tell us never to forgive to endure the unknown of

producing imitation

Let no one be too alive now or erased by us Of all words perhaps gestures will remain maybe cats

Here lies the mistake of emptiness that the mournful foresee tomorrow

but behind us- behind - a beast's hook in the back pierces the chest -the symbol of the news bulletin-

But you cry you cry - surely pretending - and recount the void there in front

They meet in the dark side of halls confusing what is and what you see

What you pass off as pain is merely canned food long-lasting lies


Suddenly the snow the body seeks its way

Had we told each other the truth it would have happened sooner

and we keep on observing the tennis player's secret elbow


Giulio Maffii was born in Florence (Italy). His studies are dedicated to poetry (linear-experimental-visual) and its diffusion. He wrote essays and books of poetry. He was featured in New York's magazine "Arteidolia" and in “Expanded field journal”(Amsterdam) . He collaborates with “Bubamara Teatro” Theater Company.

Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Expecting By E.P. Lande

I waited all day. I went to bed believing I would be awakened by the ‘pling’ of my iPhone. At 12:35 I woke up not having heard a ‘pling’. I looked at my iPhone: nothing.

I woke up again, at 3:26. There hadn’t been a ‘pling’, still I thought, maybe? But ... nothing.

When my alarm rang at 6:00, I immediately looked at my iPhone. Nothing.

I felt tired and dragged myself from one chore to another, wondering: Why? I was uneasy, jumping at every noise. When my mother called, I couldn’t engage in a real conversation, answering ‘yes’, ‘maybe’, ‘what?’ to all of her enquiries. She asked if anything was wrong? I wouldn’t tell her. I told her I’d call her back later.

I went to my office and sat at my computer, thinking that revising my latest story would absorb me and replace my anxieties. I starred at the screen.

I went to my kitchen and made myself a cappuccino. My hands shook so much that I spooned half the milk foam onto the counter. As it was a beautifully sunny day, I decided to walk in my woods thinking that would calm my nerves.

It felt good, just to be outside in the warm fall air, walking on a familiar path, the water in my lake lapping against rocks, wild ducks quacking and splashing. But soon my mind came back to my iPhone. I took it out. No service. I needed to be where I had reception. I felt sweat dripping down my face.

When I reached home, I looked at my iPhone: nothing. I paced the living room floor all day. When it was time to eat, I had no appetite. I watched a movie on TV, thinking it would distract me. After a half an hour I switched to the news. I began flipping channels. Soon I was flipping so quickly I landed in the zone of ‘To Be Announced’ channels.

I was tired. I went to bed. Perhaps by sleeping I would forget.

I turned on my left side, but after a few minutes — my eyes wide open — I turned and began sleeping on my right side. A few minutes later, I turned again, this time onto my back. I lay there, listening. I went into the kitchen and warmed some milk. After finishing the milk, I walked back to my bedroom and got back into bed.

I lay awake. I got out of bed, went into my bathroom and took a sleeping pill.

The alarm sounded at 6:00. I jumped out of bed and, and, with trembling hands, reached for my iPhone ... nothing.

I needed a change. I had no appetite for breakfast. I drove to town. Perhaps shopping would distract me. I went into a clothing store, but realized I didn’t need anything.

I entered a toy store. After picking up and putting back several stuffed animals, I wondered why I was there? I left.

I saw a McDonalds, and although I wasn’t hungry, I went in and ordered a Big Mac. When it was placed in front of me, I lost my appetite. I left and drove home.

I couldn’t sleep. I got out of bed, put on shoes and walked outside and started raking leaves. After two hours of raking, I went back in the house. I decided to work on a jigsaw puzzle.

It was a 5,000-piece jigsaw puzzle of a Monet painting. I managed to fit together a couple dozen pieces, but my mind was on my iPhone. It was 2:16 AM.

When my alarm sounded at 6:00, I was bleary-eyed, yawning, my throat was dry, and I couldn’t open my eyes. I decided to call my mother, but when I called, a recording informed me that my mother’s line had been disconnected. I went to my closet for my running shoes, but couldn’t find them.

I went to my office, but I couldn’t remember the password for my computer. I checked in the contacts of my iPhone under ‘Passwords’; it was blank. I needed fresh air.

When I opened the door to see the view of my lake and the surrounding woods, there was nothing: no lake, no island, no surrounding woods. I quickly reentered the house and reached into my pants pocket for my iPhone, but my pocket was empty. Where had I left it?

I went back to my office thinking I might have left it there, but my computer wasn’t on my desk, and my desk wasn’t there either. I returned to my kitchen; perhaps I had left it on the counter, but the room I entered didn’t resemble my kitchen. Where was the oven? The ‘fridge? The sink? The cupboards? Had I entered the wrong room? I checked the others; they were all the same: empty.

I walked to my bedroom. The room was bare. Where was my bed? My dresser? My night table and lamp? I opened my clothes closet. It was bare too. What happened to all my clothes?

I saw three people in white uniforms walking across the lawn toward me, people I didn’t recognize.

“Robert,” one called my name, “we’re here to bring you back.”

“I spoke with my mother this morning,” I told them. “I told her I’d call her this afternoon.”

“Robert,” the one holding a briefcase stepped forward, “your mother died twenty years ago. Let us take you home.”

“I have to drive to the store; I forgot to buy a shirt,” I said.

“Robert, if you need a shirt, let us take you to the store tomorrow. Come,” and the three people came closer.

“You remember us,” the short one holding what looked like straps, said. “We’re from Happy Valley. When you wandered off this morning, we thought you would come here, to the gazebo. It’s a pleasant place to sit. We’re here to take you back. You were probably expecting us.”


E.P. Lande was born in Montreal but has lived most of his life in the south of France and Vermont, where he now lives with his partner on a 500-acre farm, writing and caring for more than 100 animals, many of which are rescues. Previously, he taught at l’Université d’Ottawa where he served as Vice-Dean of his faculty, and he has owned and managed country inns and free-standing restaurants. Recently his stories have been accepted by more than a dozen journals including Bewildering Stories, Archtype, and Literally Stories.

Friday, March 1, 2024

A Believer By DS Maolalai

not as much a believer
in god as in religion,
my mother attends mass
when she's able to on sundays,

and of course
she had us christened,
and of course
had us confirmed,

but she also doesn't mind
me living with my girlfriend,
or that my sister
likes women, or my uncle
likes men. that's best, I think,
when you find it

in truly religious people; not that
they think other people
have a right to their beliefs,
but that they are practical
and sensible
and don't think of it at all.


DS Maolalai has been described by one editor as "a cosmopolitan poet" and another as "prolific, bordering on incontinent". His work has nominated twelve times for Best of the Net, eight for the Pushcart Prize and once for the Forward Prize, and has been released in three collections; "Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden" (Encircle Press, 2016), "Sad Havoc Among the Birds" (Turas Press, 2019) and “Noble Rot” (Turas Press, 2022)