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.