Peter Magliocco – 2 poems

The Now Trending Neuters
I warned you Khloe was only a sleaze
& her silicone breasts were just a con
for her doctor husband’s implant clinic!
To think it ended in mastectomy-blues 
anyway, all sweet matter voided
by the coming waves of neuter sex.
Don’t worry about the horseshit experts
trying to debunk sexual assault by males
as an inveterate chauvinistic art form
somehow weakening the worldly rat race
swimming through the nexus of time.
She wore cheap jewel-encrusted panties
that were, she said, “marvelously trending”
& would drop them unannounced for me,
laughing at my sit-com face’s reaction. The
colorful & varied underwear once belonged
to a bordello courtesan — now quite deceased
— who flourished in the old Southwest
during a time of rapacious decline.
“Sociopaths, terrorist, mass murderers, &
rapists inflicting venom on society,” she said,
displaying her panties like front page news.
They had the word EAT flamboyantly there
emblazoned in bold neon letters. I sat there
meditating, Hamlet-style, on the heirloom-
fetishes we must all fall heir to, knowing
I was beyond obscenity in contemplating
any such underwear or unusual vestments,
then pulled them over my head
like a sleazy Vegas lounge comedian
& followed the written instructions.
Lost in the hyper-maze of daily (un)reality,
never mind how we rant between commercials,
the messenger is still the medium of holy fools.
Horoscope in Old Cat Eyes
The heart is a dead fetish.
Wind exacerbates old skin
on the earth’s violated face,
moths circle the light of ages
slowly fading out with sunset.
From breathing scent night caresses
in the alcove of spent dreams
I wake to see the rock altars
within a crucified mind’s lament,
spirits still trapped in trilobite brine.
Chanting slow feral rhymes now
for your guitar’s gentle strumming
unheard melodies winds transport.
The mind is a token relic
of what second thoughts become,
a spectral mote to witenss what
Giotto’s god-children are doing
on cave-frescos dripping blood
like the graffiti of sweet angels.
They wait so long in museums for
the rain to beatify cold statuary,
or the sun to warm bare greenery
in our afterlife’s al fresco palace.
How they gambol with fey offspring
almost animal like our past selves
on the fallen tree of geneaology
where branches bear our lost faces,
cleft by eyelids
winking shimmers of rain
the old caretakers will mop up;
careful not to disturb you,
an inertly antiquated form
losing your once human identity.
The soul is a digital mechanism
to be wired like a smart phone
when ringing deafens you:
morbid harbinger of banishment
for a spirit-trap no one lives in,
we marry into the otherworld
like the sightless children
of our former selves.
Peter Magliocco writes from Las Vegas, Nevada, where he occasionally edits the lit-zine ART:MAG. His most recent novel is SPLANX from Cosmic Egg Books. He has poetry at DEGENERATE LITERATURE, MIDNIGHT LANE BOUTIQUE, THE GREENSILK JOURNAL, WHISPERS, POETRY LIFE AND TIMES, and elsewhere. He’s been Pushcart nominated several times along with Best of the Net nominations in poetry.

Jacob Kobina Ayiah Mensah – 1 poem

Communication Strategist


Giving one shot to the point for a reason very different from soft wax in your stamp on the ground, I apply your eyes with both my hands at once to hold up the room a minute when you may suppose I am not able to walk as fast as you drive the sandstorm and pursue your short breath to overcome everything I guess with your brain. I begin to go backward and forward not to conceal from myself what I have done at short intervals, I mention your name. You are hot and cold, and black and white, all at once when you are a young libertine in everything I have experienced, I wait for your next questions which are surprised and inconsiderate for elders who are still learning to rewrite their names.






Jacob Kobina Ayiah Mensah is the author of the new hybrid work, Z. His individual poems are widely published and recently appearing in Rigorous, Beautiful Cadaver Project Pittsburgh, The Meadow, Juked, North Dakota Quarterly, Cathexis Northwest Press, The Sandy River Review, Strata Magazine, Atlas Poetica, Modern Haiku, etc. He is algebraist and artist and lives in the southern part of Ghana, Spain, and Turtle Mountains, North Dakota.

Charlie Jones – 5 poems

Funky Toadstool Field Guide (Beware the Devil’s Fingers)


Beware the Devil’s Fingers
Sprouting from the ground,
They will try to snatch you,
They will drag you down.


Beware the Slimy Waxcaps
With their toxic ooze,
Poisoning your thinking
And leaving you confused.


Beware the Tongues of Fire
Whispering in your ear,
Draining you of hope,
Filling you with fear.


Beware the Witches’ Cauldrons
Spewing noxious fumes,
Turning dreams to dreamdust
And handing you the broom.


Beware the Stinking Dapperlings
Playing sour games,
If you join their circle
You will smell the same.


Beware the Burning Beacons
Promising a light,
Only to extinguish
In the middle of the night.




Yer Teacher Izza Toadstool


Yer teacher izza toadstool
Exams are toadstools too
Yer school iz one big toadstool
Tryna to tell yer wot to do


If yer wanna dance and sing
Do yer thing!


Yer teevee izza toadstool
Adverts are toadstools too
The news iz one big stinkhorn
Tryna to tell yer wot to do


If yer’d rather watch the skies
Open yer eyes!


The Prime Minister izza toadstool
And all the Cabinet too
The government iz one big puffball
Tryna to tell yer wot to do


If yer don’t want that nine-ter-five
Jump and jive!





Tick as Appropriate


What is your ethnicity?
Choose a section, A to E,
That best describes your ethnic group or background
And tick one box as appropriate.


Dad ticks the white box,
Mum ticks it too,
But India is where Mum’s parents were born and grew.


In photographs, Grandad is dark,
And Nana, like Mum, is light,
But I don’t think that either of them would tick white.


So why does Mum tick the white box?
Maybe she’s confused.
Maybe Nana and Grandad told her which box to choose.


I’m not sure I should tick the white box,
It doesn’t feel right.
But what am I going to tick if not white?


If Mum ticks the white box
I guess I could tick it too.
I’m lighter than Mum – white will do.







My teacher asked me
Why I didn’t tick B
And instead chose to tick the white box.


My Mum and my Dad
Seemed kind of mad
When they found out I didn’t tick the white box.


The lads in the alley
Called me a paki
Even though I ticked the white box.


They still call me names
But I’m not ashamed
That I didn’t tick the white box.




(I Won’t Be) Boxed In


My teacher asked me
Why I didn’t tick B
And instead chose to tick the white box.


Another asked me
Why I didn’t tick C
And instead chose to tick the white box.


My classmate asked me
Why I didn’t tick D
And instead chose to tick the white box.


Another told me
That I should’ve ticked E,
I had no right ticking the white box.


Next time
I’m not ticking the white box,
But I’m leaving their boxes blank.




Charlie Jones is a poet from Merseyside. His poetry has appeared with Bindweed, Acumen, OrbisHonest Ulsterman and The Caterpillar.

Ian Mullins – 1 poem

This Year’s Grey



Says she’s sorry –

should I be sorry too?

Or is she just blessing

her cold ego by being the one

who speaks first, righting the wrong

her mouth twisted like a bag

she’d hidden a live rat in?


Or are these words performing

the same rite for me, blessing myself

with silence as she blesses

herself with words? And how

will I tell black from white

or white from grey, when everyone

is wearing it this year?






Ian Mullins dredges debris from the banks of the river mersey. The autism-themed chapbook Almost Human (Original Plus) was published in 2017. The music-themed collection Laughter In The Shape Of A Guitar (UB) was released in 2015. Number 1 Red, a novel about professional wrestling and property wars, escaped from a headlock in 2017. All should be approached with caution.

Gary Beck – 1 poem



As the city we love
   into decay,
stores closing everywhere
no one concerned enough
to stop decline,
the wealthy secure
in castles of comfort
to loss of jobs, homes,
and the people are silent,
by disaster waiting
to embrace us.


Conditioned by the media
to passively accept
threats to existence.
  we do not protest
the collapse of our future,
since it creeps up
  on stealthy paws,
rather than Goth invasion.


And as prosperity seeps away
  the privileged revel,
either too stupid to recognize
dependency on the people,
  or too uncaring,
engrossed in fleeting pleasures,
  blandly assuming
they’ll sail to safety
on mega-yachts,
find luxurious refuge
  in another land,
continue their feasting.





Gary Beck has spent most of his adult life as a theater director. He has 14 published chapbooks. His poetry collections include Days of Destruction (Skive Press), Expectations (Rogue Scholars Press), Dawn in Cities, Assault on Nature, Songs of a Clerk, Civilized Ways, Displays, Perceptions, Fault Lines, Tremors, Perturbations, Rude Awakenings and The Remission of Order (Winter Goose Publishing). Conditioned Response (Nazar Look), Virtual Living (Thurston Howl Publications), Blossoms of Decay, Expectations and Blunt Force (Wordcatcher Publishing). His  novels include Flawed Connections (Black Rose Writing), Call to Valor and Crumbling Ramparts (Gnome on Pig Productions), Sudden Conflicts (Lillicat Publishers). Acts of Defiance  (Wordcatcher Publishing). His short story collections include A Glimpse of Youth (Sweatshoppe Publications), Now I Accuse and other stories (Winter Goose Publishing) and Dogs Don’t Send Flowers and other stories (Wordcatcher Publishing). The Republic of Dreams and other essays (Gnome on Pig Productions). Feast or Famine and other one act-plays will be published by Wordcatcher Publishing. His original plays and translations of Moliere, Aristophanes and Sophocles have been produced Off Broadway. His poetry, fiction and essays have appeared in hundreds of magazines. He lives in New York City.