Bluff City

A poem by David Lohrey


An idle tree wants cutting down.
If we apply the rules of thermo-
dynamics, growing radishes in one’s
back yard makes no sense. Let
it be raspberries on prickly bushes,
not dirty little roots in the ground.

This is a treatise on good sense.
Like Swift’s argument in favor of eating
children, mine is a defense of watching
too much TV. Let’s distribute footballs
to the redskins; let’s send the whites back
to Europe.

I once knew a fat chick named
Trish whose boyfriend knocked all
my teeth out. My braces held them
in place as the blood ran out of my mouth.
Even at 16, young men in the South
fight over women’s breasts; only in my
day, we called them tits.

Peaches bruise easily in the heat.
I wouldn’t leave the pool gate open
at mid-summer. The neighbors might
walk in on an afternoon orgy. One
forfeits one’s right to privacy when
one makes oneself available.
I wouldn’t advise working for a company
that withholds anything, least of all
one’s lunch money.

Pecan pie is overrated, like a lot of
Southern dishes. Half of sales go
to tourists who haven’t a clue.
They’d buy a bottle of molasses
with a ribbon tied around its neck.
Hell, they’d go down on a dick painted
red. Most tourists are out and out liars,
like first-time home buyers and
presidential candidates.

The squealing never stops.
There’s a lot of commotion.

Our President’s been caught with his pants
down; our priests have stopped smoking.
My best friend built a yurt with a marble floor
and a padded cell for throwing tantrums.
The transformation is now complete.
The destroyers are triumphant; the victims,
silent; and the observers, transfixed. Is it
time for advancement or retreat?
I’d say, where are the people of color?
That’s always the question; or that’s the always
question.

Rose bushes will snag. They’ll catch if you don’t
watch it. It’s not just your stockings that’ll run.
Roses draw blood. I’d get to work, and while
you’re at it, prune the damned bird of paradise.
After that, you can head for the basement.
When all the work is done, you can lay your
head down in the oven.

Different strokes for different folks;
we are all part of this tale.
For reasons that cannot be easily
explained, the author is distraught.


David Lohrey is from Memphis, Tennessee. He graduated from U.C., Berkeley. His poetry can be found in Otoliths, Stony Thursday Anthology, Sentinel Literary Quarterly, and Boxcar Poetry Review. Some of his recent poems have appeared in the U.S. publications Poetry Circle, FRiGG, Obsidian, and Apogee Journal. His fiction can be read in Crack the Spine, Dodging the Rain, and The Broke Bohemian. His book, The Other Is Oneself, a study of 20th century literature, was published last year in Germany. David’s first collection of poetry, Machiavelli’s Backyard, was released in August by Sudden Denouement Publishers. David lives in Tokyo.

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Avihs || Vishnu

A poem by Yuan Changming


Mornings || they disperse || beyond || the corn
_________________Fields, || separately. ||Sunday

She || throws

Her partner’s computer || (midnight)
________Into the garage.|| George ||who
In many || a city || upgraded || his software

_______________Upgraded || hers.
They will || stop over || an island
_______Separately.|| Your son

________________Hated || all || mushrooms
George mentions – do you recall || yourself?
To a single mind,|| their spirits || evaporate


Yuan Changming edits the online poetry blog and publication Poetry Pacific with Allen Qing Yuan. He has been nominated for a number of Pushcart Prizes.

Baltimore City, 2016

A poem by William C. Blome


Sparrows pompous, pompous, on a granite ledge
and green willows clutching silver trunks—
hugging the shit out of the mothers—
as circus elephants’ll surely panic methodically
if you keep stuffing your tits in my nostrils again
and again. Yet a truly much-feared rainstorm
simply doesn’t get here close to lunchtime,
and I’m pressured big-time by your girl friend
to quit pulling on my own sugary peter,
as some tomato growers from the Eastern Shore
take turns pissing in the privacy of their truck.


William C. Blome writes poetry and short fiction. He lives wedged between Baltimore and Washington, D.C., and he is a master’s degree graduate of the Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars. His work has previously seen the light of day in such fine little mags as Poetry London, PRISM International, Fiction Southeast, Roanoke Review, Salted Feathers, and The California Quarterly.

The Result

A poem by Jeffrey Zable


When I checked into my room on the 32nd floor I had a view
of the city and what looked like bugs crawling around in search
of food. I stood there on the balcony and masturbated until my semen
went over the edge and landed on the bald head of a woman who had
shaved it in protest of housewives not receiving a living wage for
watching game shows during the day and preparing peanut butter
and jelly sandwiches at night. Unfortunately, when she spotted me,
she took out her one-shot derringer and carefully aimed for my head,
which luckily I had time to cover with the wine bucket at my feet.
But when the bullet hit the metal, it must have ricocheted left and hit
the man on the balcony next to me for when I removed the bucket,
I saw him falling over the edge and land in the hotel swimming pool,
killing three others as a result. . .


Jeffrey Zable is a teacher and conga drummer who plays Afro-Cuban folkloric music for dance classes and rumbas around the San Francisco Bay Area. His poetry, fiction, and non-fiction have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines and anthologies. His poetry, fiction, and non-fiction  have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines and anthologies. Some of his recent writings have appeared in Serving House Journal, Mocking Heart ReviewKairos, Third WednesdayFutures Trading, Tower Journal, Jokes Review, and Fear of Monkeys, among others.

Apostrophe to Rene

A poem by Rodney Richards


You wrote in Meditations

you are a human of substance

So am I Rene, and I am so

And I think, Rene,

and even if I didn’t

I may be human form also

containing more

than just a wandering thought

My components like

yours, body including all twelve systems

and Soul system as you pointed out

interwoven like Persian tapestry

yet unique

First the Rational Soul

or Mind and its powers:

Imagination

Thought

Comprehension

Memory and

Common Faculty

that unites and unties all our others

The five most cited or ten or twenty-one

senses of the body like

Sight, and Hearing and Touch and Smell

and the like

inseparably linked in living beings

Each intertwined with the Lodestones

of our Hearts,

the Seats of Power

and Energy unlimited

for the whole to partake

The Heart feeling,

touching,

thinking,

smelling

et al

The commonest faculty

of life itself

It’s motive power

But It is not a power

to be objectified

and sung about or sung to

or eulogized

No, No, much, much more

Its beat beats all the rest

A City of thrumming in and of Thyself

The god within

perhaps with capital G

Alive and thriving

inter-spliced

interwoven

intertwined

as streets and avenues

laid upon a barescape

And He has said

“I hath chosen from the whole world

the Cities of men’s hearts”


Rodney Richards lives with his wife in a rancher in the “very center of the Great State of New Jersey”.

He loves writing, and is the author of the memoir Episodes (ABLiA Media), available from Amazon.

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Three photographs by Kyle Hemmings


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Kyle Hemmings has had his artwork featured in The Stray Branch, Euphemism, Uppagus, South 85 Journal, Black Market Lit, Sonic Boom, Snapping Twigs, Convergence, and elsewhere. He loves pre-punk garage bands from the 60s, manga comics, urban photography, and French Impressionism. His latest collection of poems and prose is Future Wars, available from Another New Calligraphy.

Night over Lower Manhattan

A poem by V. St. Clare


The paved beige stretched over, beneath

The careless sky, didn’t you see the street

Ran with cheap beer and perennial philosophy?

 

When that poor sod couldn’t even shuffle his way to work

Amid the signs and sights of this cold city

 

Nero’s circus wasn’t always round, and when it was there was far more blood.

I knew. I know. A thief in the night

The uncarved Wall stands between me and the street

He’s pocketing here and there, this and that, beast and birthright

 

But nobody told you he could climb; everyone at this open-air party

Sulks and skulks and trudges the timid notion that even Heaven plays

 

In tune with those double-dealers that straddle the sidewalks, selling

Souls and organic salads and plastic-wrapped theodicies.

 

Ninety-eight ways to go out with a bang in the televised jungle,

But you’ve stuck it to him, haven’t ya?

 

Our supple bodies stuck to the storm drains

A trillion lives and miles disgraced by everything under Heaven,

 

And among toils and boiling Heads that roll and rage below the quiet stars,

I’ve cast my vote to the thoughtless wide,

 

the careless Sky and the barren streets