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Friday, October 28, 2016

Poetry By Adam Iannucci McClelland

Poetry by Adam Iannucci McClelland

August

A small fire in a brick ring.
Paella pan, saffron, rice, mussels, quail.
Moonlight sags from the rooftops.
Fat oaks, rose briars, iron gate.
Dogs prowl corners of the lawn.
My eyes red from smoke 
watch a woman brush 
brunette hair behind one ear.
Night and memory are inevitable.
Like names on headstones, 
like nightfall left withering
at the crimped edges of the fire.



A Toast

                                  ~ for J. M.


This cold front knew you
years ago. Already on your
father’s breath, the license plate
of the truck you would buy years after him
memorized
as if a son’s eyes were not enough.
How funny to be recognized.
And here in this place
with a bride and a truck.

A tarp and straps to hold down
dreams you kept from dust.

It isn’t unexpected.
          Your fathers timbre voice 
falls to your ears - 
never if, but when.



Filamentation on Mulberry

I.
The pigeons braiding above the cemetery
are gray headstones,
the men black beaks
heap furniture in a pile
behind a trash truck
– someone has died.

A wooden leg snaps
like knuckles when it hits the street,
the duct tape a string grid.

A block North on E. Houston
mango neons spell CIVILIANAIRE
– always waiting to burn out.

I am a block North of their endurance,
bound by an apartment
of an old man who – for 14.00 
an hour – I sit with to make sure he is OK

listening to the same stories on Wednesday
I heard on Tuesday, but happened
fifty years before tomorrow will.


II.

They have placed  

in the graveyards

three sheep

muddy and black, 
                                                                     not white
among the grass and gravestones belying the dead

and across the street a young construction worker on break
does not care what color they are.

He is doing chin ups on the cross bars of scaffolding.
How peculiar, a body upright, yet

his work boots float inches
above ground.


Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Ten Outlaw Poems By Paul Tristram

Paul Tristram is a Welsh writer who has poems, short stories, sketches and photography published in many publications around the world, he yearns to tattoo porcelain bridesmaids instead of digging empty graves for innocence at midnight; this too may pass, yet.


No One’s Listening


That’s the third time that ‘Love Spell’ hasn’t worked,
she’s pretty certain she’s doing it right
and they’re £10 a shot and all.
She’s prayed and begged both God and the Devil
but either no one’s home or no one’s listening to her?



It Isn’t Remotely Clever… Any Old Trout Can Do It


She calls it ‘Needling The Answers’.
Re-shaping promises
until they resemble the opposite.
Gossip is a blanket term
for children’s tittle-tattling
and garden fence confidence chatter.
This is something completely different
… or so she tells herself.
It’s an art form
when honed and executed
with such devastating brilliance.
Playing God with other peoples lives
is what she was born to do.
(Although in The Scriptures
it was someone else completely
who helped ruin and destroy folk!)
There is no cleverness
in being secretly dishonourable…
lies are easier to live with than the truth.
She was born without
a good bone in her entire body.
No ‘Talent’, ‘Shine’ 
or ‘Specialness’ to speak of
from ugly tip right down to rotten root.



Running Out Of Boomerang


I just woke up one day 
and thought
‘Enough is Enough, 
God Damn it!’
I simply felt different,
it’s hard to explain,
something had snapped.
The tension 
and mixed emotions
were settled somewhat. 
But of course 
it wasn’t reciprocated,
she was just as angry 
and nuts as ever.
I threw my phone 
and wedding ring
off Penryn Harbour.
Walked into Falmouth
and filed for divorce.
The very last thing 
she screamed at me was
“I’ll never forgive you for this!”
‘Fine’, I thought
as I walked away at last 
from that narcissistic mess
‘That’ll give you something
nice to remember me by, loser!’



Forehead Stretchmarks


There is nothing bigger
than a yawning frown,
it clouds over everything.
Eclipsing moods and physicalities
in a long drawn out
blinking of an apathetic eye.
There are now deserts
were your innovation just was
and crumpet crumbs
upon twisting bedsheets of forever.
The day’s turned inside out
and drying upon
the unkempt garden’s
washing line
in the drizzling rain.
There’s an annoying frog croaking
in a corner of your soul
just out of shoo-ing away reach.
Good news and Sunshine 
are a-coming but not today.
No, today’s for burying ourselves
up to the neck in junk mail. 



A Couple O’ Bitchin’ Spaniels


“I don’t know who she bloody well 
thinks she is anymore?
She’s from the same cowing 
council estate I grew up on.
Walking ‘round the place
with a stick up her arse like Lady Muck.
I remember when she had a snotty nose
and shit in her knickers like everyone else.
I’ve got 2 more GCSE’s than her!
Now she’s being chauffeured 
‘round the place like Royalty.
Tesco’s and Sainsbury’s 
ain’t good enough for her now
(Might run into the likes of us riff-raff!)
She’s always getting her scran 
up that Waitrose where all the snobs go.
She won’t set foot in a pub anymore
she’s always in them wine bars.
With a smug grin on her face,
a dirty fanny between her legs
and a couple o’ bitchin’ spaniels
‘round her good for nothing fucking feet!”




Here She Comes With Her Put-Downs


Almost tripping over 
her own feet
in her excitement 
and enthusiasm.
Vile, mean-spirited, 
hag of a creature
out to butcher 
and maim a reputation.
Gets her jollies 
by verbal stone throwing.
Armed with half-truths 
and speculation,
she runs the feared 
‘Gossip Gang’ in town.
Talking to her 
is about as safe
as juggling 
brown paper bags
full of razorblades, 
scissors, skewers
and pins & needles 
in the rain.
If there’s a time 
and a place to be rude?
then trust me… this is it.
Don’t stop 
to look her in the eyes
or explain 
whilst walking away.
Show her only 
the silent backs 
of your heels
as you escape 
the vicious net 
she’s forever casting.
You shouldn’t 
play with fire,
dangerous toys
or The Devil…
and with that witch
you’ve got all three
wrapped up 
in a Hangman’s noose.
She has a rancid 
quagmire for a soul
and her mind 
is a dusty, old attic
full of scrapbooks
filled with 
newspaper cuttings
of Prison Announcements
and Obituary Sections.



All Is Selfishness… Shut Up It’s My Turn To Talk!


What did you say?... oh, you are cute.
I did not invite you here
to talk about your problems.
I’m in the middle of a crisis
with one of my lovers.
Your homelessness thingy
will sort itself out, you’ll manage,
I mean, people like you always do.
You are not much of a friend are you?
Trying to belittle my troubles
with your silly accommodation worries.
It’s not my fault you’re Oliver Twist,
I can’t magic you up a family can I?
Don’t cry… truth hurts though doesn’t it.
See, you’ve upset us both now.
Never mind, forget it, wipe your face
… no, not on that, it’s special.
There, come closer… do my nails for me,
you know it always makes you feel better.
Make them sparkle 
just like my eyes and personality. 
So, as I was saying, before you went weird
… he’s stopped reacting 
whenever I’m ignoring him
and I just don’t know what to do about it?



F.A.Q.


Where were you on the night of… ?


How many have you had already?


When are you going to grow up?


Why would you do that, it’s crazy?


What the fuck are you doing with her?


How the fuck does that make sense?


What’s wrong with you?


If your friends jumped off a cliff… ?


Are you ever going to calm down?


Did you think that through at all?


And what the hell am I going to do with you?



Look At Him Talking All Intelligent Like,
He Thinks He’s Better Than Us
(Because Stupid Is Clever, Mate, Innit?)


It’s like being in between worlds sometimes.
The more I self educate instead of just self medicating
the more separated I become from my roots.
It’s not ostracism on either part
just a headshaking frustration.
All I said was “I glanced in that direction”
and it started
“Glanced? What the fuck is ‘glanced’? … Direction? 
‘You looked over there’ is what you’re trying to say, innit?”
We ended up laughing and drinking beer,
we grew up together and know each other inside out.
Yet, there’s a strange gulf widening between us,
this is just a small yet significant example of it,
and they are just as worried about it all as I am.




People Are Funny (And I Don’t Mean Funny Ha, Ha!)


They caught her on CCTV.
A normal looking 45 year old woman
walking down a suburban street
around lunchtime.
Stopped by a wheelie bin,
grabbed a cat from a garden wall,
lifted the lid of the bin and threw it in,
then walked off as if nothing had happened?
Anyway, they nabbed her for it later,
after the cat spending 15 hours
in a hard plastic solitary confinement.
She said sorry and called it a 
split second of misjudgement.
They fined her £250.
There was a Facebook page set up
calling for her death 
(The woman not the cat, obviously!)
and the police had to escort her home
through groups of angry animal lovers.
She’s a bank worker,
no former criminal record to speak of.
The kind of person who sits on Jury Duty.
No mental health issues
and no drug or alcohol problems.
It was an unfamiliar cat
not belonging to anyone she didn’t like.
Just a spontaneous act of cruelty.
My first thought was
that I’d have cut one of her feet off.
But then I calmed down
and realized that I’m not as cruel as her.
Be careful how you go about your business
out there in that big old world
for you are surrounded by these people.
You can see the ones with gang colours
and prison tattoos coming easily
and normally avoid them without bother.
It’s the other kind that worry me,
until one steps out of line 
they all blend and merge far to easily.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Poems By James Diaz

James Diaz is the founding editor of the literary arts & music journal Anti-Heroin Chic. heroinchic.weebly.com/ His work has appeared in Cheap Pop Lit, Ditch, HIV Here & Now, Foliate Oak and Epigraph. He struggles with Dissociative Disorder, but after a lifetime of being labelled Bi-Polar he is now living medicine free for over five years. He's slowly starting to be able to feel his own skin again. Instead of three pills a day he writes three poems a day. He lives in upstate New York.


A Nonexistent Place Called Home

The dish you hand painted
signs of the cross
struck by lightning
and left out on the front porch

a heavy rain
traveling
from inside of your bones
and into the bedroom
to do you in

underneath the rattle
there is the music of panic
helicopter love caught in a flame
and dangling over the mirror
of way back when

cross your heart
and hope
that nothing can hurt you
this time around

bend into the curve of the road
and count
how long it takes you
to reach that nonexistent
place called home.



My Name Is...

It was how our bodies
held their own light
told different stories
and never knew
when the voice
might enter
and when it
might leave again

it's how a parent
can you beat you up
inside
until it's the only state
you live in

how lovers handle each other
like dynamite
fuses lit

how the pressure of living
with three different versions
of yourself
looks to others

but they've never held
the taste of thunder
under their tongues
never waited
for morning
so they could scream
the words day light
into the mirror

they haven't been broken
this way, and that
haven't lost their core
too early

the words
for 'my name is...'



Knife Fights & Friendship

I've been filled in by the road
been on the blind side too long
holding my two hands against the fire
as if I could summon old ghosts
between my teeth
with thoughts of home

wisps of southern air
divided into angular shots
against the heart
a stone like that
carries its wound
so deep
you can't touch it
even on a bad night

they're all bad nights
and a thousand & one miles
between the space in your head
and the trap door at the bottom of your shoes

couldn't really tell you
why the good ones suffer

all I know is
every one is a friend
until their not.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Donal Mahoney Misses Old Style Beer

Donal Mahoney recently read the Outsider editor interviewed in Duotrope and found the invitation to poets to submit who suffer mental illness or disability. But since these ailments come in many forms, some detectable and others not so at least in public, it’s difficult for a writer who has made it through a long life knowing he isn’t quite right to submit to Outsider because he has not been labeled as officially labeled, medically or otherwise. Maybe that’s because he quit drinking four quarts of beer on Friday night, often the same amount on Saturday night, and lightened up with 10 or so vodka and Squirts on Sunday afternoon. He quit drinking and smoking three packs a day on the same day. The date is tattooed on his brain: November 23, 1961. He still misses Old Style beer. 

Mahoney has appeared in Outsider before and very much enjoyed it so he is no submitting once again, officially labeled or not. He wants to say, however, that his problem, whatever it is, has been relieved enormously by the process of writing, sometimes in three or more shifts of three hours a day, seven days a week. On nights he can’t sleep, he’s a woodpecker at the keyboard as early as 3 a.m. It’s one of only two obsessions in a lifetime of obsessions that would not attract the cops or make women angry.

Sometimes thinks his poems should scream what he feels but he doesn’t like those versions. He’s not Bukowski and he knows it. Some of Mahoney’s relatively newer work can be found at http://eyeonlifemag.com/the-poetry-locksmith/donal-mahoney-poet.html#sthash.OSYzpgmQ.dpbs=. Some older work is at http://booksonblog12.blogspot.com. Some of the poems on the latter site may have been written before he quit drinking with or without a bottle of Old Style. No computers then. Just a rickety Remington portable typewriter. 


Bellowing by Email

It’s not good when two disturbed people
with little in common disagree by email 
on something important.

Tone and content can get raucous  
and make matters worse because each is   
used to getting the last word.

Normal people give up arguing with them
but they can exchange emails for days
and never come close to a resolution.

Their bellowing would wake a bear in winter.
I tell you this from personal experience.
I just answered that lunatic again.


Donal Mahoney


Act Now Before It’s Too Late

It's climate change, 
the professor says, 
that's causing all the
hurricanes and floods, 
wildfires and tornadoes, 
icebergs melting, 
species disappearing.
We must act now
before it's too late, 
he tells his audience.

On Sunday morning
the preacher says
climate change is
the beginning of 
the End Times.
Get ready now
for the Rapture.
It will be here soon.
You will either be 
swept up to heaven
of left behind.

Sitting in his pew, 
waiting for the collection, 
Mortimer figures  
both may be right, 
the professor 
and the preacher.
Climate change first 
and then the Rapture.
What to do, he wonders, 
if he's left behind.
His wife tells him 
on the way home that 
only the Shadow knows. 


Donal Mahoney


America’s Beggars

You won't find poetry anywhere 
unless you bring some of it with you, 
said Joseph Joubert,

a French writer whose day job 
was working for Napoleon.
If Joubert was right and you have

poems marinating, then go out 
and search everywhere for more.
You will find nice ones in the forest 

twinkling in the eyes of a doe 
or twitching in the ears of a rabbit. 
Add them to your marinade and then 

go into the city and you will find more  
blazing in the eyes of America’s beggars.
There’s room in your marinade for more. 


Donal Mahoney


Odd and Strange

The day Paul got married, 
his old girlfriend called his house 
just before he and his bride Anne

caught the plane for their honeymoon. 
Paul was outside packing the car 
and Anne answered the phone. 

His old girlfriend was angry because 
Paul had married somebody else so she  
told Anne strange things Paul liked to do,

strange things Anne had never heard of,
stuff that didn’t sound like Paul at all, 
but Anne said nothing about the call

and they flew off to a nice honeymoon, 
diving off cliffs and swimming in the sea, 
seeing rare birds and tropical flowers, 

eating native foods Anne hadn't heard of.
Years later, they went back to Oahu 
for their 40th anniversary, and Anne

told Paul about the call but didn’t say 
anything about what the girl had said 
although she remembered every word.

They were sipping drinks at a cafe 
when Paul admitted he remembered 
the girl because she would ask him to do 

things he thought odd and strange.
He was open-minded but there’s a limit. 
Anne said she understood because after 

40 years with Paul, she now liked to do 
things she thought odd and strange when 
she left the Amish for something new. 


Donal Mahoney


An Editor Suggests Revisions


Yours is the first email I opened this morning. 
I appreciate your suggested revisions and invitation 
to send the work back once I've made the changes. 
I can tell you spent a lot of time analyzing my efforts. 
I'm afraid, however, that I can't make the revisions 
although I feel I should compensate you for your work. 

It is to that end that I took your name to Rebecca. 
I showed her your suggestions and she said your name 
would be introduced at the next gathering of her coven. 
She asked if I had suggestions for revisions to your life 
and I said I did and that she might want to take notes.
I said I thought it might be best to have your organs 
rot one at a time while your heart remains strong 
so you die at a leisurely pace. 

She said that could be arranged 
although it was an unusual request. 
In similar cases, when dispatching someone
who has insulted another, she has found
the insulted usually wants the insulter 
sent off as quickly as possible. 
I'm unusual, she said, in that respect.
I told her I didn't want to be heartless 
and have you die before you have time
to put your affairs in order. 

I reminded her not to inflict cancer 
on your pancreas too early because 
medicine has yet to find a cure for that. 
In short order, cancer of the pancreas 
means lights out, no lingering about. 

I suggested the cancer start in your gall bladder, 
move on to your kidneys, then to your lungs 
and then to your brain. That will keep 
the doctors busy while you waste away. 
I suggested she save your pancreas for last. 

I also asked her to let me know when 
your pancreas becomes fully involved 
so I can make plane reservations 
to come and say good-bye.

In the meantime, may your next issue 
be stillborn. No reason to make it 
different from the last. 

Old Style cans in Lacrosse, Wisconsin

Saturday, October 1, 2016

October Poetry By Michael Marrotti

Michael Marrotti is an author from Pittsburgh, using words instead of violence to mitigate the suffering of life in a callous world of redundancy. His primary goal is to help other people. He considers poetry to be a form of philanthropy. When he's not writing, he's volunteering at the Light Of Life homeless shelter on a weekly basis. If you appreciate the man's work, please check out his book, F.D.A. Approved Poetry, available on Amazon.

F.D.A Approved Poetry by Michael Marrotti available at Amazon



'Baptist Church'

Oppressive traditions 
are meant to be broken 
like the beaks 
of nosey conservatives 
taking in all the air 
around them 
sticking their noses
where they don't belong

Always the first 
to prohibit the path 
DO NOT ENTER
judged by appearance
unorthodox attire 
only those 
who are worthy 
may enter 
this sanctuary 
of stubborn personality

The path 
of the righteous man
is sexist and biased
the only option left 
is to walk away 
or face the charge 
of trespass

Here I thought 
we're all equal 
in the name of the Lord 
a feeling takes over me
I'm not the one 
in need of repentance
I know when I'm not wanted



'Pseudo-Christian'

These people
this place 
my appearance
is the cause
of their actions

Jesus doesn't work
they pick an choose
what's best for them
going through life
in a righteous state
of contempt

God forbid
they turn the other cheek
when other people's
so-called shortcomings
help them forget
about their own
transgressions

Instead 
of being grateful
for the daily bread
they focus
on how others 
consume it

Guilty 
by no affiliation
my heart 
it beats like yours
no vacancy 
for Jesus
doesn't mean
I'm not 
for the cause
altruistic
I have 
my own reasons

Blood will flow 
like wine
from the mouth
of those 
who contradict
the doctrine

Keep those eyes
on the pages
let Jesus
do all the thinking
only open
that big mouth
for the daily bread
Jesus saves
and this could save
us a headache



'Light Of Life Rescue Mission'

I was 
volunteering
each week 
religiously
even though 
I'm spiritually 
bankrupt

It was a 
phenomenal
feeling 
living out 
my ideology
we're all here 
to help other 
people

Then one day 
I stopped
there was a glitch
I began to question
this benevolent
endeavor

Was it making
a difference
does any of it 
even matter

One 
pseudo-Christian
is all it takes 
to ruin the philosophy
some contradictions 
are easier to forgive
than others

A month later
I came to the 
realization 
that doing nothing 
will only prolong
the suffering
and apathy

I didn't wanna be 
another callous
human being 
so I returned to
walk through
those doors

Actions speak 
louder than word's
empathy is 
oftentimes
sacrificial
I'm back to 
where I started
doing my best 
to make a difference