Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Poetry By Anti-Heroin Chic Founder James Diaz

James Diaz is the founding editor of the literary arts & music journal Anti-Heroin Chic. His work has appeared in Cheap Pop Lit, Ditch, HIV Here & Now, Foliate Oak and Epigraph. He struggles with Dissociative Identity 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.

Lovely, Defective

say life
and everywhere
so little of it

part / parcel
the emptier the refrain
the fuller the form

wrist scars 
and hideaways
from before
the war
and here
and now
the body reaches its lowest 
loneliest moment

frozen tundra
there's no god talking back
with wind or jealousy
only dark on top
of darker

what more did you want?
bite marks
when love turns violent

half a day's travel
toward nothing at all?

something else?

Tell us all
what it is
we're missing?

Carry The Impossibility and Add It To The Four

I know how much you hate it
the status updates
the roving eye 
hand uncoordinated
and winter deep inside everything

call your people
tell them you've forgotten how to smile
and the scar itching
but what does it know

something happened
and can't unhappen

like defusing a cognitive bomb
Bion's unknowable aching
even my teeth know how bad it's gonna get
and midnight cuts in
the table missing a chair
missing my mind
and so, so much more.

Everywhere I Went I Found Something Missing

and I couldn't tell you what it was
it took me months to get a full sentence out
and when I finally did
I asked you to repeat the words
till I could hear myself through you
till I could trust the language again.

It May Look Like Unraveling 

I used to see things that weren't there. Like Plath I was very adept at trying to die. It was my calling. Almost a life time ago. Almost. I remember the kindness of a man named Vince who held my hand as we walked the long cold halls toward a room with no windows, single metal bed and thick parachute straps, the walls were like sheets of iron blocking out the sun, the cameras, I thought then, were the laughing eyes of a cruel god. "It'll be alright" I remember Vince telling me, "I'll be here 24 hours from now, I ain't goin' nowhere." Even in my darkest hours there were men and women who kept me above the water line, for two years I lived in a place with no light but that which hid itself in other people, in extended hands, the touch and feel of someone's skin reminding me that I was in my own. And there were these words a night nurse once said to me: "It may look like an unraveling, but you are somehow being born." Impossible pain, I now know, lends itself to something that is worth waiting around for; the rest of the story. Maybe a little or a lot more pain, maybe a little or a lot more life.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Poetry By Alicia Cole

Alicia Cole is a writer and visual artist in Huntsville, AL.  Her work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in Amaryllis, Eunoia Review, and Hermeneutic Chaos. 

Fat Contemplation #1: Listening to Richard Wilbur's “The Writer”

I am laboring against the fat.
Richard Wilbur is laboring
also, telling me of birds
who batter themselves
against the window. Life, death,
thick poet stuff. My hands rend fat
out of my stomach, then pump oxygen
rich air. I'd rather be his daughter.
I'd rather be anyone but me.
My belly feels as though it will necrotize
my whole world. This is what
I get for being suicidal. Women,
read me: for a low-fat life,
eschew suicide. Be Richard Wilbur's
daughter. Be anyone else.
Be the cans of La Croix
I'm constantly chugging, mouth dry
and famished. Be Andy Warhol's
new series, La Croix Cans.
Be me rounding every bend
as I lug my body homewards
to where my mother
is cooking black-eyed peas
and dinner, at the very least, is lucky.

Fat Contemplation #2: Fat Girl in Space

I've enough fat to fill a spacesuit.
Conversationally speaking,
this weight of my body leads
me to horrendous exaggeration.
I do have enough mental illness
to fill the whole world. My body's
orbital objects slap together, one singular,
jarring gravitational loss. I retain my
appetite, as humongous as my ego;
can you also see me examining
my face in every mirror?
Will I commit suicide just to keep
from feeling my own fat?
I should vault myself into space,
but there is not enough cold
in the entire vacuum to penetrate
all of this unnecessary fat.
I should vault myself into space
and leave my fat suit open anyway.
If I shaved off all of my fat, maybe
I could feed the vultures, several starving
children in India. If I shaved off
all my fat, maybe I could feed myself.

Fat Contemplation #3: Suicide Prevention

The fat is trimming off, slowly.
Underneath, something dark
and dank rolls in my fat-heavy
flesh. When I walk the fat off,
this thing too reels away, keening.
I am like a wide ocean.
Every part of me trembles.
Every part of me contemplates
the nature of air, my lungs
having decided for me to breathe.
When the fat burns off you too
will go, I say to myself. It looks
at me, this thing. No reply.
Just a blank empty I used to chug
biscuits against in the hospital.
Just a blank empty only a few
footsteps shy of my newly
steeped green tea. I would like
to claim my fat suit day
where everything is biscuits.
Fresh baked and slathered in no-suicide
butter, like the no-suicide blackberries
I now gulp from the refrigerator
in sweet, necessary handfuls.
I think my fat suit day would feel warm.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Tell Vision By Genelle Chaconas

Genelle Chaconas is genderfluid, queer, feminist, an abuse survivor, over 30, periodically unemployed, and proud. They earned their BA in Creative Writing from CSUS (2009) and their MFA in Writing and Poetics from Naropa University (2015). They were diagnosed with depression at the age 11 and prescribed the anti-depressant Prozac, which they used until the age of 17. They were never informed of the possible side effects on patients of that age. They survived a physically, psychologically and emotionally abusive relationship with one parent which sometimes turned violent and traumatic.They still cope with these realities today. They are convinced that trauma changes the way we tell our own stories.

Tell Vision

You find the television where it landed on the soft ooze thaw April field fifty yards beyond the statue garden. It is impossibly untouched what you mean to say is unbroken. This is after a cluster bomb hit the roof of the foreign embassy which itself is the ill amber yellow cholera illness growth the air is a glistening season the flavor of asbestos and the weather leaves the embassy a gouged crater like a carcass of whistle clean glisten white. The endless bluster blizzards of files flow down like a wave of nuclear pollen. Natives scour in hunting packs for passport B sides unpaid stubble classifieds criminal records credit cards bank account run away with swaths of glisten copper old silver fittings stamps stains molds all the heavy metals of a surrogate overthrow played out like a mock hide and seek. And you are reminded of what you were once told crossing the permeable border to this nation. In a destruction culture nothing is sacred. You answered what culture is not a destruction culture. You find this television surrounded by palm sized mushrooms. It is the season for them. You’ve heard of such things, of the twinge whorl curls of dynamism let down safe and sound in the hawk stomach of vector and furor. And do not know if you feel more amazed it is not broken or it is not gutted already. Surely it has copper wire inside. An odd layer of rot has crawled under its glossy blackface like a gnurl furnace of green. You cannot imagine what it is. What illness could possess its face in less than an hour after the bombing? What could have infected it so fast? It is small, portable, fits behind the motorbike you hijacked the days before the last lesser purge. You found it sprawled without its rider jackknifed. The deep furrow treads lasting half a mile into the brush. It drove through the flash fire without its rider. That was two days ago. They call them deinfestations as though the spray of night fire whistle blooms like fourth of July are routine chlorine sprays. And now roaches are indeed plentiful. The days have borders you cannot name anymore. No one at the rooming house questions your whereabouts and won’t answer for them. Your letters pour in five times a day. Contradictions marked action necessary contents classified respond immediately in the bold block letters used to summoned you to the Federal Bureau. Twenty a day or more. Only the intricate webs of your surveillance, offering, palavering, pandering and demanding. As though all ways are some inviolable taking. None of them are any more credible than any other. All of them could turn you in. You sometimes wonder if you are the same digestion track as everyone else. That the chain of food is literal. And you are one of the many morsels of caloric information on its route. And wonder if it feeds some larger organ of entity. The slithering map of the original indebted from the poker game grows in every direction now. It widens and lengthens through the swollen flesh of the country. But also thickens into a wasp nest of jungle fungal foliage spoil. It seems to grow out of the vellum. Your records burned. Your body you see reflected in the pensive square of this television screen carries no gravity. Today you ride the motorbike through the ramshackle overturn streets like upside down bridges. The walled covered roads like the yawns of empty stomachs. Or the wheeze of a long dead hide. Something being tread beneath a tire. You have asked yourself the name of this sound that you’ve heard rattle out before death. And it is as though you drive a fresh paved path. None of the bumps churns and hustles in the concrete overturn you. Once you saw a parade of the bulletproofed tanks overturn from one curl in the road. There was no sound to this film. A newsreel spun on one of the many homegrown theaters the natives nourish all nights during the sweltering summers. You sat on your rattan awning creaking with disrepair and watched. Outdoor propaganda festivals took place every night. The greasy grey faces of the enemy El Presidentes morph into the soggy maws of dogs and demon pigs. And when your own flickered to boos and cries of long live the rebellion, you cheered along with them. Now all the grand screens have been gutted rotted or burned. The smokestack skies gurgle through the gaps. Sitting on the same rattan awning as the napalm dawns that shiver through the Molotov festival dusks. A through each held a new private newsreel in its opened carcass. The smoke that shivers through the midnight oil air like a furious pelt. This is not an invasion. Another convulsion of the territory from within. Nothing about your position has changed except its structure. Except the membrane of under fur that has spread over you. The lostness of you that grows from every cell undifferentiated as cancer. As though you have invited an anonymous lover into your bones. Or rather a thief has entered the house of your mind. You’ve seen this happen to corpses before. The slow stretching mass fabric that emits from the mouths. But no one can explain to you what this means. It happens at least once every six months. And if you keep your head down and mind the business, whatever business you are in, you’re left to your device. But if you haven’t got your head down far enough, well. Every native draws his one long rusty fingernail reserved for makeshift paraphernalia across his throat with a snicker. You’ve never plugged it in. It’s been on the floor all day, dim, moldy, smooth as a rippleless night. The snow static screeches. Ask yourself which of these kamikaze electrons dying on the stratosphere you are. And then you hear it. Thin, dry, and feeble. A signal is leaking through.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

13 Ways of Looking at Poetry By Donal Mahoney

Donal Mahoney has had work published in various publications, including The Wisconsin Review, The Kansas Quarterly, The South Carolina Review, The Christian Science Monitor, The Beloit Poetry Journal, Commonweal, The National Catholic Reporter and other magazines. Some of his online work can be found at

13 Ways of Looking at Some Polyps

He asked and so I told him.
The “cancer” poems stem 
from cancer in the family. 
Daughter’s terminal. 
Son's a five-year survivor. 
Mother died at 59. 
I had 13 polyps, all benign, 
snipped a year ago. 
I go back next month
for another roto-rooter.

As one grows older,
neighbors, friends and folks
one doesn’t know 
die from it.
That’s life, isn’t it. 

One never knows 
but the question’s not
“Why me?” 
The question is
“Why not me?"

Think about it.
We’ll all pop something 
now or when, won’t we.

Donal Mahoney

A Knockout at the End

My parents were 
far from preachy. 
They went to church 
separately and I went
to the children’s service 
separately as well.

But as a family we
went to many Irish wakes 
that enabled me 
last New Year’s Day
to look death in the eye 
when my daughter died 
after a long fight to live.

I’m old enough now 
to listen for the bell signaling  
my own last round with death. 
Hard to believe I've made it this far. 
I may even lead on points 
but any bookie will tell you 
death by a knockout at the end.

Donal Mahoney

A School Bus Is Coming

On weekday mornings
on a quiet corner 
three moms with small   
sons and daughters
wait for a school bus 
they hope is coming

The children laugh 
play a game of tag
three moms are silent
three feet apart

One reads a book
another smokes
the other checks
her cell phone

The bus pulls up
the kids pile on
and rush to windows
to wave good-bye
the moms all wave 
as if in sync

The bus takes off  
makes its turn
three moms
walk home 
three feet apart
down the block
without a word

three moms
with children gone 
are free at last 
white, black and brown 

Donal Mahoney

Answer Me This, America

Took the wife 
to a pancake house
the other day. 
National franchise
good food 
fine reputation.

Skipped the pancakes
had bacon, eggs,
hash browns, toast
and coffee.
Wife went fancy,
had an omelette.

Grabbed the check
because the busboy 
started clearing 
the table early.
A young dervish
new to the job
swirling his cloth
for minimum wage.

Bothered me 
to realize he'd work
three hours and a skosh
to pay for the same 
breakfast, more
if he left a tip.

Reminded me 
something’s wrong
with our great nation,
how we do business.
Have both ears open.
Hoping for an answer.

Donal Mahoney

Coffee with Mr. Conscience

There are a lot of people like me 
neither rich nor poor, idling 
in the middle who have never wanted 
for anything in our lives.

We were reared by parents 
who fed us and sent us to school.
We graduated and found jobs 
and then moved on to better ones.
We raised families of our own.

We have pensions now
and can pay our bills.
We can buy a new recliner
when the old one breaks.

Which is why I hate to stop 
for coffee at Pete’s Diner
and find Mr. Conscience there 
sipping his and waiting to ask me
what I’ve done for the poor lately. 

He’s an old caseworker who 
worked in the projects until retirement.
He volunteers now with a group that 
caulks the gaps public grants don't cover. 

He never gives me a moment’s peace,
always after me to help a needy person.
He’ll take cash or a check, isn't fussy.
He’s Mr. Conscience and he drives me nuts. 
But I wouldn't have coffee with anyone else.

Donal Mahoney

Poetry By Karlo Silverio Sevilla

Karlo Sevilla is a freelance writer who lives in Quezon City, Philippines. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Philippines Graphic, Radius Lit, Yellow Chair Review, Wraith Infirmity Muses, Peacock Journal, Eternal Remedy, Peeking Cat Poetry Magazine, Sub-saharan Magazine, Riverfeet Press Anthology, and elsewhere. He also coaches wrestling, trains in Brazilian Luta Livre, and does volunteer work for the labor group Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino (Solidarity of Filipino Workers). 

Screaming the Small Stuff 

There she goes again:
Waving and shouting,
close to frantic or frantic, 
just to hail that passenger trike,
when one passes by our street
every ten seconds! 

(As if marooned on an island, alone,
and a rare ship passes by...)

This Afternoon, I Lost the Key

Knuckles sore, skin on middle finger blistered,
and the door remains locked.

Calling, shouting out his name,
I’m annoying our elderly neighbors again,
rousing them from their afternoon nap.
Still, our door remains closed.

Is it only the voices he hears?
Or do the voices, or some (or one)
of them, command (commands) him
not to let me in?

I need to pee, I need to change.

My eyes meet the rock in our garden,
which shall soon meet the glass
of our window. 

Poetry By Michael Marrotti

Michael Marrotti is an author from Pittsburgh, equipped with a chemical imbalance and lack of patience. His writing has propagated the small press like chlamydia in Beechview. He's out to make a difference through writing and philanthropy. A faithful volunteer at the Light Of Life Rescue Mission going on three years now, he believes in action. Michael Marrotti writes books that sell no more than five copies, but get 5 star reviews, like F.D.A. Approved Poetry, available on Amazon. You can reach him at

My Mother, The Saint

The woman
has been married
three times
and divorced twice
yet takes no 
for her actions

My mother the saint
always portrays
herself as the victim

She gave birth
to a daughter
and a son 
through this 
second marriage
yet hasn't talked
to either in years
she's still portraying
herself as the victim

It must be an act 
of convenience
an extra perk
that goes along 
with the excessive 

Blacking out 
her own 
shaky finger 
in the opposite

I'm a demon spawn
to her neighbors
and coworkers
pity on tap
she's infallible
the woman
has a way with 

I'm telling you 
my mother  
excels at her craft
she's had her 
entire life to practice
even my own kids 
tell me I have to be 
nice to grandma

I've given up 
on diplomacy
long ago 
once I realized
there's no cure 
for the redundant

I'm a terrible
son of a bitch 
member of the 
guilty party
or better yet
a son of a drunk
who learned
from the best 
how not to keep 
his mouth shut 

Happy Mother’s Day

I'm stepping on 
every crack 
my Chucks
are fortunate
enough to touch

Cursing each 
and every
liquor store
on my horizon

Sending out an
envelope of contempt
for her special day 
that comes around 
once a year 

To remind me 
of all the abuse
80 proof or 
80% of the time 
the rest were spent
on her random lovers
who would spilt
after a few weeks
fortunate mother

Driven to madness
lashing out 
only to be put 
in psychiatric care 
when the straight jacket
should've been worn by you
it would've been 
a better fit 

You label me a monster
when I'm a product
of my environment
I've learned 
how to deal with it 
by following 
the instructions 
on the bottle 
and adhering to the rules
of an imaginary
restraining order

The days
doused in vodka 
insincerity of the heart
love trapped in a bottle
passionately emptied
into an abrasive soul
happy mother's day
you've earned it 
bottom shelf vodka
enough is enough

Redemptive Cause

We go through
this routine
every couple
of months

Where vodka
bottles explode
felonies are close
enough to touch
and pictures of 
better times
fall from the walls 

I like to think 
of the time 
spent away
as a joyful

When the only time 
I show teeth
is when I smile
hands are used 
to warmly
embrace others
and the bottle
of Xanax 
is forgotten

Plus I'm saving
money on Tylenol 

Until I attempt
to rewrite history
again and again
like a lunatic 
on a redemptive

By subjecting myself 
to the malice 
in Brookline
by a woman I 
reluctantly call mom 
who is out to destroy
anything with a smile

Bottle To The Grave

From the bottle
to the grave
peace will come
when her 
inebriated body 
is deposited
inside the ground

May the next toast 
be your last
and with it 
all the future torture
of a drunken life
self-severing and 

You can only push
people so far 
now I'm across
state lines
in a better place
free of abuse 

Your only son 
or the bottle
you've made 
the choice

Enjoy that vodka
until the end 
it's all you have left
those twelve steps
brought you back 
to the beginning

A son without
a mother 
who tried diligently
to make it better
but in the end 
had to face the facts

He'd never be 
as significant
as the bottle

Poetry By Joan McNerney

Joan McNerney’s poetry has been included in numerous literary magazines such as Camel Saloon, Seven Circle Press, Dinner with the Muse, Blueline, Halcyon Days.  Her work has been included in many Bright Hills Press , Kind of A Hurricane Press and Poppy Road Review anthologies and has been nominated four times for Best of the Net.  


Sneaks under shadows lurking
in corners ready to rear its head
folded in neat lab reports charting
white blood cells over edge running wild.

Or hiding along icy roads when
day ends with sea gulls squalling
through steel grey skies.

Brake belts wheeze and whine
snapping apart careening us
against the long cold night.

Official white envelopes stuffed with
subpoenas wait at the mailbox.
Memories of hot words burning
razor blades slash across our faces.

Fires leap from rooms where twisted
wires dance like miniature skeletons.
We stand apart inhaling this mean
air choking on our own breath. 

Eleventh Hour

Wrapped in darkness we can
no longer deceive ourselves. 
Our smiling masks float away.
We snake here, there
from one side to another. 
How many times do we rip off 
blankets only to claw more on?

Listening to zzzzzz of traffic,
mumble of freight trains, fog horns.
Listening to wheezing,
feeling muscles throb.
How can we find comfort?

Say same word over and over
again again falling falling to sleep.
I will stop measuring what was lost.
I will become brave.

Let slumber come covering me.
Let my mouth droop, fingers tingle.
Wishing something cool…soft…sweet.
Now I will curl like a fetus
gathering into myself
hoping to awake new born. 

suicide sneaks 

thru blue bedroom, a chair
falls across bedspread
spins along random floor
i wander up wall hang
suspended from light bulb 

phone rings we speak into
plastic wire did you know
how dizzy i am i am i am
in bathroom blushing curtains
razor blades near sink

polishing landlady's
scarred furniture vanity
table cut in my arm
how white!

ahhh furnishedbluebedrooms
insides of existentialessays
something hiding important
under coils in back of brain
only this makes me happy
insects busy night&day
i hear them.

dividing mind 

no particular
passing sculptured gardens,
graveyards, women in long
veils of mourning/morning
black everything still still still
(except for children who skip while
clutching doubleheaded iccreamcones)

                         no particular
clock stares at 12 which
was yesterday or could be
tomorrow but might as well
be today … why talk against time?

                         no particular
automobile driving thru
longwhiteline of hi way
dividing mind into
distinct red boxes
cat e gories
automobile driving to
any anonymous
beyond graveyards
gardens morning veils