Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Maybe I Can Go My Own Way By Ben Nardolilli

I’ve stumbled onto a new role;
Sneezing Man, huffing and puffing in a world
That doesn’t want flared nostrils
And yet fills every space with the dust of ages

As I sniffle, I sit alone, except for stares,
Not fluent in the proper language,
This patois the educated bandy back and forth,
I can’t download their mélange of signs

In the meantime I find my downtime,
Relaxing while watching inaccurate dinosaurs,
There is a dangerous story there
On the screen, but I am safe and pleased


Ben Nardolilli is currently an MFA candidate at Long Island University. His work has appeared in Perigee Magazine, Door Is a Jar, Red Fez, Danse Macabre, The 22 Magazine, Quail Bell Magazine, Elimae, The Northampton Review, Slab, and The Minetta Review. Follow his publishing journey at mirrorsponge.blogspot.com.

Sunday, April 28, 2024

On A Slow Gloaming by Kushal Poddar

To Rijurekh da

The thin light from the window
sniffs, recognises the smoky petrichor
rising from my mellow core.
In the garden I buried my lies, fed by kitchen rot grows
a Pinocchio reed.
If you stare hard; eyes blur; 'I' dissolves
freeing you to see more in one, how a reed holds
some infinite reeds, possibilities,
as if a lie can be true when its turn arrives.


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, published across the globe. https://twitter.com/Kushalpoe

Friday, April 26, 2024

Like a Broken Drum by Bobbi Sinha-Morey

When I don't have the courage
to face every coming dawn
and the only answer lies in
giving up then it means hope
has flown forever away from
your heart and there is no
reason to go on because there
is nothing left to hold onto
and the hours before you lose
themselves in the passage of
time. Just as the day begins
you shy away from its first
light, the sound of your heart
like a broken drum, and for
a minute you forget what it's
like to be caressed by a loose
feather. Only once have I seen
fallen plum blossoms be swirled
up by the wind in one of my
dreams and they had been erased
by an invisible hand at the tip
of an awakening day.


Bobbi Sinha-Morey's poetry has appeared in a wide variety of places. Her books of poetry are available at Amazon.com and her work has been nominated for Best of the Net Anthology in 2015, 2018, and 2020 as well has having been nominated for The Pushcart Prize in 2020.

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Hot Day by John Winfield Hoppin

On the hottest day of the hottest month of the hottest year of
The hottest decade of the hottest century on record
I told you something
To satisfy you
And reinforce the fabric of our community

But it is too hot
The waters are too high
There are inevitable circumstances
That can't be avoided

The ship is lost
There are no rafts
There are no life preservers
Regulation fails us
We can't give up the ship
For there is no other

The waters churn and froth with misfortune
The air turns to salt
Time's crashing halt
The trumpet's call
Names sealed in eternity's stone envelope
There must be a girl with a gun somewhere --
Maybe she'll save me, too
Or at least take me with her
But maybe she is fickle and has a heart made of cement


Emerging from intersecting social, environmental and physical catastrophe, John Winfield Hoppin is an artist and poet living and working in San Leandro, California. In 2001, he received his bachelor's degree from the California College of Arts and Crafts in Film, Video and Performance. He has multiple sclerosis and in 2016 created the What’s The Matter With Me? Podcast to find support and explore disability theory. Chernobyl happened on his seventh birthday. he/him

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Boyfriend by Dominik Slusarczyk


I poke him with my chopstick. He does not look like he regrets telling such an offensive joke; in fact he looks very pleased with himself. Every time I take him somewhere nice he embarrasses me. I could never introduce him to my parents. They would think I was an idiot for dating him. They wouldn’t see how nice he is to me when we are on our own. It is only when we are in a group that he feels he has to impress people by acting like an idiot.

I finish the rest of my noodles. There is a selection of meat mixed in with the noodles – there is chicken and beef and prawns. The sauce covering the noodles is delicious. As soon as I’ve finished eating I want more but ordering two mains is not the kind of thing normal people do. I will have to be satisfied with the big slice of cake I’m going to order for dessert.

We go out for cocktails after the meal. I have a strawberry cocktail then I have a lemony cocktail. By the time we go home I am a little drunk. I hug my friends and tell them we must do it again next weekend. Someone says they heard of a nice Mexican place we could check out.


I glare at him over the top of my drink. Racism isn’t funny. Racism is never funny. Doesn’t he understand you can tell jokes about rainbows and rabbits?

I put my drink back on the table. I ask him if we can have a chat. He rolls his eyes at me. He says it was only a joke. He says I’m always getting worked up over silly things.

My dad looks amused by the whole thing. It doesn’t look like my mum even noticed – she is completely focused on the plate of food in front of her. I guess if nobody else minds I don’t mind either.

I finish my meal. The lamb is delicious, some of the best lamb I’ve ever eaten. The potatoes are pretty good but I swear I can make better ones myself. After we’ve eaten we put my parents in a taxi then we go for some drinks on our own in a nearby pub.


He tells me he’s sorry. I ask him if he’s met someone else. He dodges the question.

It’s always like this with men. You get close to them then they dump you. They don’t seem to care that you have a connection. They don’t seem to care that you’ve been together for years. They get bored of sleeping with you so they move on and start sleeping with someone else.

When I get home I cry. I’d already started thinking about marriage. My parents love him. If he’s good enough for my mum he’s good enough for me.


Dominik Slusarczyk is an artist who makes everything from music to painting. He was educated at The University of Nottingham where he got a degree in biochemistry. His fiction has been published in various literary magazines including moonShine Review and SHiFT – A Journal of Literary Oddities. His fiction was selected in Fictionette Monthly Flash Fiction Contest.

Friday, April 19, 2024

Black Hole by Eric Chiles

Astronomers release image of Sagittarius A* during period of hyperinflation. May 2022.

Bills, nothing but bills, piles of them,
more than there’s money, such a glut
they turn the sweetness of dessert
into a bitter acid churning in my gut.

A moon of meals has passed my lips
before this night’s chore, the monthly
settling of accounts, the regular reckoning
of the costs of need and cupidity.

More yesses than nos, desires than denials,
have assuaged the paucity of my soul
with things to please the eye, touch and tongue,
with the satisfaction of filling some hole.

It’s the all consuming weight of things
tied about my neck that chokes and tears
at my throat. Not now. I need to breathe,
to think. But where? Outside for air.

The night is clear and black. No moon,
just the pinpricks of stars, the echoes
of light from the beginnings of time,
speeding so fast, so far, they’re shadows,

mere reference points, of where they were.
Light and energy released from matter
by the alchemy of fusion and fission
in uncountable suns – an ethereal scatter

of brightness and power that if caught
close enough by a leaf can amplify
brown earth into fruit and blossoms.
Such mystery in the sky, so far, so nigh.

Oh, to be star shine bursting free from mass
and the gravity of things into enlightenment.
Damn the desire to hold onto stuff
like the roots of a tree dependent

on the light of that burning, nearby star,
like the way my fingers gripped the pen
that scrawled numbers on so many
checks to pay so many bills when

none of it lasts longer than a spark.
Where in this darkness is the faint glow
of the Milky Way’s wavering disk, where
the light of stars layer their show

like beadwork on a great swirling gown
spun round and round around a gay
maiden wedded to the grasp of a hungry,
evil, gravitational gnome? They say

there’s a black hole at the center of things,
an upside down star whose raging flume
sucks all that comes close into a chaos
as hopeless as Dante’s dream of doom.

Blackness so dense that a teaspoon of it
could balance more than a billion worlds,
so strong and corrupting it can bend
the purest light any supernova ever hurled.

Just like a bat using its sonar to track
a luna moth following a pheromone trail
to its love at night, without warning a black
maw of hunger snaps its beauty as it flails.

That’s the sudden despair of Hell – a black hole
of gluttony on quiet wings, waiting in
the cold lull of midnight to pluck
careless lights, one by one, from heaven

until all that’s left is its invisible
malignant self and the grating, howling
of billions of billions of bills, bills, bills!


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 besides Disturb the Universe Magazine, his poetry has appeared in such journals as Blue Collar Review, Canary, Gravel, Plainsongs, Rattle, Sport Literate, Tar River Poetry, and the Voices Project.

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

A Cluttered Memory by Richard LeDue

My closet has no bones,
but just old sweaters,
limp as skin shedded off
long enough ago to look like someone else,
even if it belonged to the same person
who still dismisses the ethics
of neatly folded laundry on Saturday afternoons
and the siren call of hair dye
among fluorescent shores
down aisle five at the drugstore,
yet somehow who I was survives without me
believing it,
like a ghost haunting hangers,
while poltergeists pay no rent in my head,
stomping about because they feel
threatened that my wrinkles the beginning
of being forgotten.


Richard LeDue (he/him) lives in Norway House, Manitoba, Canada. He has been published both online and in print. He is the author of ten books of poetry. His latest book, “Sometimes, It Isn't Much,” was released by Alien Buddha Press in February 2024.

Sunday, April 14, 2024

In Most Respects by Alan Abrams

And such as it is to be of these more or less I am…
~Walt Whitman, “Song of Myself”

You see them everywhere, in clumps of five or six,
at the 7-Eleven, huddled, exhaling steam,
collars turned up, hands jammed deep in pockets;
whole bunches of them at the Home Depot parking lot,
when the asphalt must be 140 degrees, their
desperate eyes seeking yours as you drive past
them, as you search for a closer space.

In the early afternoon, after they’ve given up,
they hang out around a picnic table in the shade
of a big gum tree, drinking Bud, paid for
by someone’s woman who cleans offices at midnight.
The younger ones are nearby, playing futbol,
stripped to the waist.

Once in a while, one of them gets lucky,
climbs into the cab of a pickup truck
with a sandwich in a paper sack.
He runs the jackhammer you rented
for seven hours straight, cutting a trench for
a sewer pipe through 40 feet of solid ledge.

You pay him cash, and ask if he can find his way
back tomorrow morning. Twenty-odd years later,
his daughter, a Dreamer, is finishing her degree
in accounting, and he’s driving past another
half dozen guys, to pick up a load of studs
in a battered F-150, legal in most respects.


Alan Abrams has worked in motorcycle shops, construction sites, and architecture studios. He has lived in the heart of big cities, and in the boonies on unpaved roads. His poems and stories have been published in numerous literary journals and anthologies, including The Innisfree Poetry Journal, The Rat’s Ass Review, The Raven’s Perch, Bud and Branch (UK), LitBop, and many others. His poem “Aleinu,” published by Bourgeon, is nominated for the 2022 Pushcart Prize.

Friday, April 12, 2024

Barely Any Sky Between Horizons By DS Maolalai

a close day. everything
touchable. barely any sky
between horizons.
birds could be crumbs
on a table in a dirty cafe.
my car is a scuttling
crab-shape of creature –
cautious and tiny
and clinging to walls.
people keep pulling
out in front of me
lately I'm driving
too fast.


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)

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

a good dramatic goodbye by J.J. Campbell

she once told you that you were beautiful

a weird angel walking on earth meant
to be great

you remember the night she walked out
into the highway and got runover by
a semi

she always loved a good dramatic goodbye

all the weird friends got corporate jobs

and the nerds discovered drugs and ended
up learning just how uncomfortable park
benches are

the cats all speak spanish and are secretly
plotting your demise

it is the time of year for revenge

colder than cold with each passing day

her love is a mystery that you could
never unravel

that uneasiness you feel is the indigestion
of love

embrace it

break a few toilets

scream from the mountaintop and show
them what weird really fucking is


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, Horror Sleaze Trash, The Asylum Floor, The Beatnik Cowboy and Misfit Magazine. You can find him most days on his mildly entertaining blog, evil delights. (https://evildelights.blogspot.com)

Sunday, April 7, 2024

A Moment, Frozen by Skaja Evens

I hate the person I become when I am with you.

Silly, naive girl believing that if I love you enough that you’ll be who I think I want.

We are dangerous, toxic in glaringly obvious ways that are best seen from a distance.

The self-awareness I cultivated for other reasons offers a lifeline out of the labyrinth.

I tell myself that I'm done sacrificing myself, pretending I'm not riddled with tiny paper cuts. The aftermath of your words.

I’m twisted in knots as I carefully consider my words and how to dance within the landmine-ridden framework that is you.

I patch myself up with tears and self-loathing, and some perverse belief that since I’ve been mistreated for so long, what’s a little bit more?

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, if you believe the cliché.

Do all of the good things make up for the weight of regret?

Like the cheating man promising his mistress that he’s gonna leave his wife, I swear someone crossed their fingers when looking for the faintest glimmer of hope that waiting it out will make things better. Make things worth the misery.

What’s more likely is years of a frozen moment in time. Years lost because of acceptance of what we wanted wasn’t good enough, but we thought we deserved.


Skaja Evens is a writer, publisher, and artist living in Southeast Virginia. Publication credits include Spillwords Press, Medusa’s Kitchen, Ink Pantry, Off the Coast, The Crossroads Lit Magazine, The Rye Whiskey Review, Synchronized Chaos, and Blue Pepper. Her first book, conscientia veritatis, from Whiskey City Press, was recently published and can be found here: Amazon.com

Friday, April 5, 2024

Clovers by Jerome Berglund

the children
in giggling circles
babbling brook

piercing gaze
of clinging
back at me

many endeavors
low production value
can’t throw
a wrench in

creep up windshield
awol egg

the dad jokes


Jerome Berglund has published many haiku, haiga and haibun, most recently in bottle rockets, Frogpond, and Modern Haiku. His first collections Bathtub Poems and Funny Pages were just released by Setu and Meat For Tea press, and a mixed media chapbook showcasing his fine art photography is available now from Yavanika. Twitter: https://twitter.com/BerglundJerome

Happy First Anniversary to DTU!

Hello! I am pleased to recognize that Disturb The Universe Magazine is one year old! The first piece was published on April 4, 2023.

In the past year, 96 pieces have been published, and the site has been viewed over 16000 times.

I look forward to doing even better over the next year.

A couple things to share:

    1. Submission guidelines have been updated, effective today.
    2. Starting Sunday, April 7, there will be publication three times per week.

 Thank you so much for your support with submitting work, reading and sharing on social media. I am forever grateful.

Best always,

Skaja Evens


Tuesday, April 2, 2024

Note He Left Suzie the Bartender, Who Never Answered by Michael Dwayne Smith

I am inconspicuous, doing this or that, a la nineteenth century
footman, a first-rate improv cook, plus can rescue you, not me,

from life-threatening mistakes: cases are documented, debts
are owed, strings tighten. Used to be best I could do was crack

a joke: lost job after job, one boss punched me out
his wife 
had run off, so I absolved himbut then it was me, married, 

humor drained like brake fluid, grim at the prospect of sobriety,
every grimy fuck high-speed collision screams for jaws of life.

Had to grit teeth when she’d speak, grinding gears of her sub-
compact mind, me poisoned by red weed and whiskey fevers,

demonic addict to secretary, receptionist, waitress, brass zipper
a down elevator, nonstop, choke-slammed into cold concrete

basement bottom, my wire-slim mouth tonguing handcuffs
in weekend jail cells. But now! Look at how perfectly my lips

clean up your mess while making my own, how these hands
pick up your trash, feed it to my heart, how my fingers hold

a knife that slices the drowsy apple I’ll feed to you, Princess.

Michael Dwayne Smith haunts many literary houses, including Gargoyle, Third Wednesday, The Cortland Review, New World Writing, Chiron Review, Monkeybicycle, and Heavy Feather Review. Author of four books, recipient of the Hinderaker Prize for poetry, the Polonsky Prize for fiction, and a multiple-time Pushcart Prize/Best of the Net nominee, he lives near a Mojave Desert ghost town with his family and rescued horses.