Anne Babson – 2 poems



The television blares as I type this,

Comerade.  My thoughts — recorded pressing

The red remote button by my cable

Company, the only company kept


These  days but yours, sister — mingle the real

With reality TV.  Lonely? Fat?

Live in a dormitory weeping while

Editing obscures confessions by the


Emphasis on surface schmutz, stalking each stitch

On the synthetic cloth.  Avoid fistfights

With the disturbed but successfully cut

Plastic surgery Barbie Dollery


In the gilded cage on the next perch from

Yours.  They’re angrier than you’ll ever be,

Having been deprived of so much cuisine.

Still lonely?  Still portly?  Still bachelorette?


Flip to a new station with a laugh track.

These images are the devil you know

In iconic form – you heard these stale jokes

Getting home from elementary school,


Turning on the television before

That mother got home, not like the one that

Lights up the screen – a lonely, fat one

Who seemed ancient, but she was your age now.


“Turn that junk off.  Don’t you have some homework?”

You did.  She seemed to barely notice you

As you dragged your book bag upstairs sulking.

She turned the box back on.  It lit her face.








Flipping aquamarine pasmina, enter.

Purchase heels that skyscraper rivals envy.

Tell the taxi, “Opera Lincoln Center.”

Cling to the bevy.


Don’t attend events that make eyelids heavy.

Cappuccinos substitute for good nights’ sleep.

This is New York City, not drowsy Denver!

Fatigue is skin-deep.


Guys from Wharton Business School think themselves steep.

Who needs men who pontificate Saturday night?

They won’t let you utter a solo-flight peep.

They think they’re white knights.


See you make some friends who can (think they can) write.

Writers know the best parties, never get bored.

Better yet, they get into editor fights,

Claim Amis is Lord.


Bloomingdales is ripoffsville, trust me, all floors.

Buy your makeup somewhere else, hosiery, too.

Haggle gamely for your souls in boutique stores

As if they were shoes.


If you find sophisticates who live like you,

Treat them as inferiors at your peril;

They have cop ex-paramours just like you do,

Blue-serge dressed to kill.


This is New York City life, do what you will.

Wise young women consider me their mentor.

This intimidation town takes all your skills,

Buyer or renter.






Anne Babson is a dissident American poet.  Her latest collection, Messiah, will be published this Fall.  Her current collection Polite Occasions has been featured on radio and is available online and in American bookstores. She has been published in journals on five continents.

Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois – 2 flash fiction stories

Congenital Defects


My Russian cousin will not tell me what’s happening. He wants to keep me in the dark. He fancies himself Dostoyevsky or the famous magician, Krylov the Fry Pan. He won’t even tell me why they call him that.

He finally got a great girlfriend, really cute, cute as a chipmunk, but he’s thinking of selling her online. He likes the idea of being a Human Trafficker.

Why would you even think of doing something like that, I ask him. He’s a distant cousin, but he’s got my nose, my jaw, my eyes.

He replies: The one who grabs the rat by the tail–he will get the vacuum cleaner.


My son is born with colic and a bad attitude that destroys all babysitters, but worst of all, he has Pupila Duplex, two irises, two corneas, and two retinas on the eyeball of each eye. It’s as if he has four eyes. He’s a freak, but the condition gives him more data than a normal person, and increased focus. As soon as he could talk, he’s telling me what to do.

He tells me: The Chinese emperor Liu Ch’ung had this mutation. The populace fell to their knees in awe and wonder whenever he came within five miles. Sign over your Parenting Card, old man.  I’m in charge now.




In the City

Travelling west toward the mountains, Denver is a gritty place, though not as gritty as it used to be. It’s where people go when they’ve finally tired of the hick life. I never tired of it but was cast out by greed and pulverizing machines. Now I’m old and don’t believe in wisdom. I only believe in removing as much crap from my mind as possible. Minimum crap is the best I can do, removing the greed from my heart, and staying lean almost to the point of pain, skirting anorexia.

Anorexia is a road too far into the desert, a road where you stare at a cactus’s spines and feel jealous—but that’s merely another form of greed (greed has a million manifestations). That’s why the Buddha advocated the middle path, with greed tugging at you from both sides, the greed of overconsumption and the greed of self-deprivation. Neither works. Both are ego.

I would return to the hick life if I could, somewhere where people aren’t hardhearted and I’m not continually damaged by pulverizing machines. In the meantime, I’m here in the city.




Work by Mitchell Krockmalnik Grabois appears in magazines worldwide. Nominated for numerous prizes, he was awarded the 2017 Booranga Centre (Australia) Fiction Prize. His novel, Two-Headed Dog, based on his work in a state hospital, is available for Kindle and as a print edition. His poetry collection, THE ARREST OF MR. KISSY FACE, published in March 2019 by Pski’s Porch Publications, is available here. Visit his website  to read more of his poetry and flash fiction.

DS Maolalai – 1 poem



It’s beautiful; this hot

hazelnut coffee,

made with sweet syrup

and no hazelnuts at all, tasting

nothing like hazelnuts

and much like the future

which bangs outside, brassy,

band and big.


It’s sunlight and slamming

the pavements, slamming the window

and slamming your hands

on the coffeeshop table

like the clip

of a closing pianolid,

and you’ve gotten two messages

since sitting down,

and both of them have been good; delicious

like false hazel. it’s a wonderful thought,

isn’t it,


that all through the future

we will still have sun

on the street outside, and

good messages coming, still have coffee

which tastes

something like hazelnuts, and no hazelnuts

floating in our coffee.





DS Maolalai has been nominated for Best of the Web and twice for the Pushcart Prize. His poetry has been released in two collections, Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden” (Encircle Press, 2016) and “Sad Havoc Among the Birds” (Turas Press, 2019)

Cindy Rinne – 1 poem

Broken Connection


Lemma 1

Flame in my lower back x endless spasms x shortness of breath x no sleep for days x try to function = body betrayal.


Arthritis entered spine after fire. Fire burned muscles. Spine suffocated in smoke. It’s just aging.


Lemma 2

Trauma language in muscles x unknown future x tilt sewing machine x betrayal  constant pain =

Fear. Try to look like everything is okay x grab back x lean back into pain bend forward.



Spend hours stretching, acupuncture, massage, yoga = finances. Worth it to spend. Every move a possible flare-up. It will come back to bite you.


Lemma 3

Work with throbbing x ice x stretch bands x rolled towel = clothing not too tight on waist. Meditate x breathing exercises sleepless nights = escapism and delusion.



Root of trauma can be dealt with through breath, meditation, facing it. Try one of 10,000 methods.





Cindy Rinne creates art and writes in San Bernardino, CA. She is Poet in Residence for the Neutra Institute Gallery and Museum. Cindy is the author of several books: Letters Under Rock (forthcoming Elyssar Press), Moon of Many Petals (Cholla Needles Press), Listen to the Codex (Yak Press), and others. Her poetry appeared or is forthcoming in: Anti-Herion Chic, Unpsychology Magazine, MORIA, Verse of Silence, several anthologies, and others.