Friday, December 20, 2013

does anyone take novocaine recreationally?

reckless, starved, cut free
want me hard? take a ticket i’m
salivating for the city, for the streets that run like veins

sat next to a trans porn star on the way into midtown
and said, girl (girl she said) you better believe i’m giving up
the white woman, this is the first new years i’ve been sober in ten
she said, if you wanna come back to work, gimme a call
and i’ll slap you right up with a coupla sissies

taking heart in that in here in her, in the middle of wide open
i’m ringing all around, sweltering in fits of heat
i want to lie down in the street
i want to climb onto you and over you to freedom

come the fuck at me, all you lovers

--Claire Phelan 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Naked Nursery Rhyme

Peter Peter 
fire eater 
had a 

keep her 

He kissed 
that girl 

made her 

His tongue 
could burn 

when would 
she learn 
not to 
play with 

--Valeri Beers 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

On Parenting

Late at night, past any teenager's
My friend Chris tells me that
Punks don't have parents.
People who were raised right
Don't shoot off fireworks at shows,
Destroy shopping carts,
Weigh their jackets down with studs,
Or listen to Minor Threat.
The last time I saw my father,
He punched me in the face.
Super punx.

I once heard a comedian say that
He did not want to be
The kind of dad that inspires art.
My dad called my brother Jake a fag
Back when he had pink hair,
So Jake used it in a song and
Stormed out of the auditorium
Once he was done screaming along to the guitar.


I can't remember how many times
My mother threatened to leave when I was growing up,
Or how many times I found myself on the floor under her,
Learning just how sorry I was supposed to feel.
Open handed blows only –
She was the good parent, after all.

My childhood taught me that
No good came from talking to social workers.
Well, I did tell that one that he saved my life,
But he was never on my case.
He just writes nice little songs about
Lynching, meth, and never meeting his real father.


It would be too optimistic
To hope that my parents made me
A stronger poet.
That would be giving a lot of credit to
Alcohol and the United States military,
Red wine and grey gun oil,
That I'm not ready to give.

--Charlie Stern

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Swimming Lessons

My suit was blue, or maybe red with tiny pink polka dots

and a string around my neck I couldn’t tie alone.

Who can remember such things? I do remember

clutching the orange Styrofoam kickboard

for dear life, paddling my feet with twice the vigor

necessary to move forward in water, nothing

like the mermaid I wanted to be. Week

four of swimming lessons at the YMCA,

my classmates, evil, spoiled doctors’ kids,

sat on the pool’s edge, laughing at whatever

it is third-graders laugh at: rules, each other, poor girls

exerting too much energy to move 12 feet, my failure

to graduate from using a floatation device. Water

beyond the bath was foreign to me.

They all had in-ground pools and parents

who could swim, fathers who held them

horizontal while they went through the motions

until they could survive alone.

I could only concentrate all my attention

on not going under.
--April Salzano

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


i am
i am
feigning sobriety
as much as i can,
gimme a fix
gimme a blow job
gimme gimme gimme
maybe hold my hand
and walk with me
for a mile or two,
maybe smile
for half o' second,
i don' really know,
whisper something in my ear,
whisper something in my ear.

--Joseph James Cawein

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Wilder Street

Rent: $265/month. My mother

had no other options, her stipend

for fourteen years of marriage

to a burning bed. We saw nothing

but a shitty neighborhood, a rooftop

accessible from the bathroom window.

At dusk we exited like burglars

and smoked her stolen cigarettes, trying on

adulthood like a half slip. She saw only

freedom, a place where bruises heal.
--April Salzano

Friday, August 16, 2013


I'm so busy
only coffee
calms me down.
Here's my
paystub: it's
another genome.

When I was
I thought I was all.
Now older wiser,
a microscopic

If reincarnation
I probably could
only being me.

is my
I use a
flashlight full of

Married 50 years
to myself —
divorce papers.
I have fonts
for lunch & symptoms
for dinner.

My pension
is voicemail
I'm so busy
my dreams
drink coffee.

--Craig Kurtz 

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Letter to a young librarian

Hi, and welcome to the profession
Don't expect any recognition
And don't expect adequate monetary compensation
You - madam or sir - are doing bitches' work
Let me clarify
Your profession is a gendered space
So whether you are cunt blessed
Or whether you are cock afflicted
You are a cunt
In our eyes
And you will be treated
And paid accordingly
We do not value your work
If it served any purpose
It would be a field populated by us
Along with all the rest of your ilk
The teachers
The nurses
The social workers
Are bitches and cunts
Whether you are cunt blessed
Or whether you are cock afflicted
And you will be treated
And paid accordingly.
--Alfonso Colasuonno

Monday, July 29, 2013

Club Night

Afraid of abundance,
too long at the bottom.
blessed I stood,
bright male,
brilliance magnified.
in the inner city,
and yet,
shivering in the warm,
terrified of cash
and neon
and the women ...
anyone of them
could be the one,
and there were these
horrifying mixed drinks
that I could suddenly afford,
and the face in the mirror
behind the bar ...
no longer a child ...
I wanted to lie down,
lick the floor,
make it my home ...
I was born blue,
but now grown
whatever color
the strobe light
would have me ...
not forgetting music,
throbbing, throbbing,
so heavy on the beat,
my heart's dominatrix.

--John Grey

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Wild Beasts

it is almost unreal watching them
two on one side of the subway seat and two on the other

snorting at each other
howling so ungraciously
and taking photographs on their phones

these wild beasts of the american night

nearly all of them three-hundred pounds
in mini-skirts or corsets

their bare asses plastered to sticky seats
full of bum jizz and toddler snot

sort of human just like you

one of them looks like an ogre
with yellow flesh and red nostrils

she keeps huffing out of her wide nose
opening her wide mouth and exposing square brown teeth

she’s talking about all of the men
who are in love with her

they all want this, she says
running her thick hands down her dress

who are these men? i ask my wife
where do men like this exist?

the two who aren’t three-hundred pounds
are taking photos of each other
and spraying whore perfume

they keep kissing each other on the cheek
making like they’re going to french kiss
while the big girls eat candy out of boutique bags

as the n train rolls us across the manhattan bridge
and back into brooklyn hell

ew, you lesbians, the wild beasts chant
at their canoodling friends

and then they snort some more
take more pictures

move their fat asses on the seat
as they pop m&m’s into their mouths
and continue to talk about all of the men that want to fuck them

i imagine comatose brooklyn guidos
with death before dishonor tattooed on their arms
in need of an easy sexual fix

i hope to christ that one doesn’t spread her legs
i say to my wife
pointing at the yellow ogre

i mean i’m not a decent man
but i could use a little decency right now

or a dog catcher

whatever it will take tonight to get these cackling
wild beasts off of this train
without me seeing their underwear

and all of that glory between their legs
that they keep bragging about

get them back into whatever caged asylum they came from

until the moon goes down
and the city is safe once again

for the rest of us uglies
to keep feeling good about ourselves

--John Grochalski

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Traces of Addiction

I wallow in the depravity you encase me in,
longing for your temporary emotional fix.
My body needs that sensual flood
that forces me back into bottomless debts.
Your physical consumption inadequately soothes,
filling me with rejected numbness
as you cover me in a blanket of blindness,
desperately trying to erase the tracks
degrading me naked.

--A.J. Huffman

Monday, July 22, 2013

Rearranged Pain

sometimes my poems about my pain aren’t polished
sometimes my pain poems come out very bad
but sometimes my poems about pain soar
sometimes everything’s arranged just right
but it’s fucking strange to distinguish between them
b/c no matter what—pain is always pain
sometimes i even prefer my very bad pain poems
when my pain even fucks up my creative judgment
& what i get is a sick knife plunged into a pile of shit

--Rob Plath

Friday, July 19, 2013

Jerry Waiting

jerry teaches checkers
to the delinquents where i work

we ride the same bus home

only we never talk

one time he asked out
my co-worker

wanted to take her for coffee

for some reason
offended her delicate sensibilities

so much so
that she threatened
to go to the administration about it

that she flashed her ring
in my face
like a diamond mace

and said
don’t he know
i’m married?

as if that mattered to a man
so clearly desperate for love
and companionship

that he was willing to risk his job

for black bodega sludge
cream and sugar
and a pretty face.

--John Grochalski

Monday, May 27, 2013

Wild Oats

It is a whole lot easier
to back out of driveways
than marriages;
I don’t know why,
but she was mighty pissed
when Pat told her
he was too young to marry,
there were still wild oats
to sow.
she screamed
"I’ll show you WILD OATS!"
She came at him with a hammer
from the tool box
in the garage.
He thought about hitting her
but remembered the
he ran away
down the street
(falling out of his shoes
a third of the way
as she chased him
still screeching:
Neighbours stood around
on the sidewalk
while I sat on the front steps -
waiting for dinner
or mercy -
counting the ants
that came out of the hole
and made their way
toward the faux brass

--Ryan Flanagan

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


In a mad world
The sane are the ones
Who are truly mad

Who wait in line
For the latest version
Of what to do next

Who gather in crowds
For a brief glimpse
Of who to listen to

Who browse magazines
To learn the ways
To avoid mistakes

Who cruise the Internet
To seek out others
Exactly like them

Who go into debt
For tickets to shows
Where nothing goes wrong

Who watch TV
While taking notes
To keep one step ahead

Who believe that dreams
Are to always want more
No matter the cost

--Richard Schnap

Friday, May 3, 2013

Redirecting Hurt

Redirecting hurt, creating feedback loops via individual interfaces,
Makes for “modern wisdom,” socially awkward questions, recalcitrance.

Recording pain for posterity, deconstructing vices, unblocking memories,
Causes railing against extended families’ assumptions, institutional truths.

Expressively crippled adults, raising children, forge new misunderstandings,
Bring about a reluctant habit of answers, establish inelegant verities.

Individual concerns, notwithstanding, inhumane acts scar, maim, otherwise injure,
Rationalize away no wrong, cover up no neglect or abuse, recover nothing.

Past experiences evolve present realisms. Victimhood hangs about orphaned.
Trauma invites unsalvageable moments to linger, smoke a few, return for more.

--KJ Hannah Greenberg

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Two By David S. Pointer


All this early out-permanent ecstasy

rapid response condoms ß©ÞW

everybody climbing over Hadrian’s

Wall avoiding commitment, boregasms

finger claw ring bits left at the scene

atop another smoldering relationship

flaccidly held together by denial or fists
Slaughterhouse Lullaby

America had
longer wakeuptime worldview
as if molasses were operating
room anesthesia
held in dank catacombs without
sonic experimentations roping
submersible barbed wire hanging
trees custom fabricated noose-
wear: weird western vests to go

Bondage therapy by appointment only
--David S. Pointer

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Two By A.J. Huffman

Fuck Machine
I am invisible. Until the lights go
down and the Jack meets the Coke
(over ice, of course) a few times.
Then clink! Suddenly he sees
me. All shiny and nude
(even when I am not). And
it is perfect. For an hour
or two (on a good/rare night).
Then in the morning, he is gone
again. Or I am. And does it even matter
which one of us disappeared. We are
each dissolved back into the reality
of our own mundanity. Until further
escape is desired/required. And somewhere
as the sun goes down again,
a telephone sounds its sirened call,
that will (no doubt) lead to another inevitable
Happy [Hateful] Anniversary – June 5, 2012
The number 5 resonates from inside its markered circle.
A silly sentimental scrawl splayed beneath it
to [rein]force a remembrance
I now wish I could forget
as I sit here shredding any and all evidence
of that fateless day.
There goes the ticket stubs to the museum full of stars
and teddy bears – the perfect place for the childish dream
of “us” as a beginning . . .
There goes another picture of us in a wooded garden:
a simpleton’s smiling portrait of the happy couple
you now swear we never were . . .
There goes the dress I wore to impress you,
not realizing I was committing blasphemy in your eyes
by believing I could ever look better than the “average”
you believe I’ll never reach . . .
I am standing to my knees in the rubble; this piled mess
of paper, cloth, film and wish
I was a humble[r] match
capable of effectively scorching these tracks.
Instead it is my anger that sparks, and I who burns
on this mountainous bonfire of regret
as, finally, I realize it was I who never amounted
to more than a handful of futured ash
for you to feed to the wind.
There goes the [metaphorical] knife scarring the skin
of my breast – senselessly searching for any scrapped piece
left that might have enough faith left
to manage a solitary beat.
--A.J. Huffman