In the final corners of the night
Lie the crumb-starved remnants of sleep.
Your mind lies elsewhere, picking at wounds
That once were only skin-deep.
Along the narrow tracks of the bed
Run three paths out of the room,
Two of them ending only in dread,
The other, the crack of doom.
The uneven plaster slapped on the wall
Betrays a zig-zag plot
That inches toward infinity
Like a never-boiling pot.
Your awkward writhings under the sheet
Enact a suppressed demonstration
Against some horribly unfair law
That crucifies you to your station.
The light from the hallway beckons
Like a baleful reminder of God
Transformed to a crab-faced clown
Who’ll never so much as nod.
Ten statues of inability
Crouch in disfigured stone,
Rehearsing all your failures
Until you’re entirely alone.
Did you leave the gas on, gas on, gas on?
Your conscience asks with a stammer.
In just a few stunted hours,
The day will return with a hammer.
A handful of pills that flood the system;
The countdown begins at two.
The only stranger in the bed
Is no one else but you.
After the rain, the puddles recede,
Minor mutinies that flow
From the emptied plaza to
The narrow, draining streets below,
Pooling all their capital
Into a bank of mud
That hasn’t seen so much as a trickle
Of oil, sweat, or blood.
Since the time of the abattoir,
The gutter holds its own supply.
Even the air feels lighter,
Free of the lowering sky
Like a skittering horse without reins
Or a turbulent waterway
Purged of the urge to drown
Whoever escapes the fray,
Until the oncoming reign,
Hazy but looming huge,
Building toward another flood.
Après moi, le deluge.
David Galef has published over 200 poems in places ranging from The Yale Review and The Gettysburg Review to Witness and Measure, as well as two poetry books, Flaws and Kanji Poems, and two chapbooks, Lists and Apocalypses. Day job: professor of English and creative writing program director at Montclair State University; also editor of Vestal Review, the longest-running flash fiction magazine on the planet. www.davidgalef.com, @dgalef.
Tell me, were you looking for fortune, were you looking for gold?
When you dragged me with those peccant hands from the earth?
Or were you burying a secret, were you hiding your lies?
When you seized my body and pulled it away?
Tell me, did someone see you?
Did the woods shriek?
When the moss fell off my body and the dead leaves quivered.
Tell me, did my cold touch fondle you?
Did my crusted blood prick you?
Did you look at me, dead, in the eyes?
Was I still me? Did you find me in that pallid green?
Was I more beguiling? Spiritless and motionless?
Was your eulogy a lie told to the crowd?
Why did you come back?
Did you forget the knife?
I foresaw your betrayal months before it happened.
I perceived it, I sensed it, I expected it.
I became aware of your presence lurking at the windows, gazing at the horizon, looking for a way out.
The gates were closed and the doors were sealed but in my bones, I felt your itch for freedom.
I heard your silent apostasy.
I knew you wanted to leave me.
I caught sight of your shadow creeping behind me while I was asleep.
I watched you sharpening knives in a house that never eats.
I recognized your anguish, your indecisiveness, your torment flooding the corridors of our temple of love.
I found you under a cypress, humming a tune that wasn’t mine.
I caught you unfolding an image from your pocket, just to press it on your lips and stash it away.
So I did nothing when you cowardly decided to stab me in the back.
I didn’t plead.
I didn’t cry.
I didn’t scream.
I just turned to you, so you could look into my eyes one last time, while my blood was painting murals of love on white walls.
Keea Mihaly it’s an aspiring writer from Transylvania. She graduated with a BA in archaeology from the Babeș-Bolyai University.
When she doesn’t write dark poetry by candlelight in her coffin-shaped bed you can find her taking pictures of the moon and doing tarot readings to strangers.
She threatens to bite
if they get too close
her body sun-painted
her backpack and robe
on the curve of the shore
she covers her ears
crowd closing in
wanting more than a touch
for she's far from old
preparing to leave this hell
up to her ankles
up to her knees
holding her arms out
bearing her cross
the crowd halts
eyes wide unable to blink
she stands firm
in the sand and salt of the sea
into an immense pool of silence
singing songs with actual words
thousands of fish rising
spinning in a dance
a distant whale surfacing
huge with angry eyes
back into the sins of the city
she's one of the chosen ones
soon to be raptured
out of this world.
He touched you
unable to sleep
until he filled you
with his poetry
and you took
as someone else's
was only for you
when you left
you had the one
most women long for
and now you regret
poem after poem
a thousand pages
just for you
little by little
on every word.
Everything at her fingertips
But no one completely
All these years
Looks and body
Eye-catcher near perfect
Until age bent her bitter
Teeth sharpening into a horror
Oozing from her brain pores
Bread of dry crumbling cells
Wrapped in a hardening cocoon
Nightmare on a hangman's noose
Sobbing until cutting loose
A last grasp
Picking herself up
Stumbling to the pond in the garden
Cupping her hands to drink
Ripples of time she tastes
Finally understanding herself
Acceptance of mercy
Bitterness into freedom
Beautiful wilting of a flower.
“Bitter” was first published in “Black Poppy Review”, May 2018.
Stephen Jarrell Williams loves to stay up all night and write with lightning bolts until they fizzle down behind the dark horizon. He was editor of Dead Snakes, UFO Gigolo, and Calvary Cross. He can be found on Twitter as papapoet.
beneath sedimentary rock.
ping like red streams.
A dark shoreline filled
of aimless wanderers
of another life.
Jamie Seibel earned a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing with an emphasis in poetry from California State University, Sacramento. Her work is forthcoming in Versification Poetry Zine and Wingless Dreamer. In her spare time, Jamie likes to write short stories, draw, and take nature walks with her dog. She hopes to publish her own poetry collection by next year.
on Goethe’s table
the mothering earth,
impressed with too
out in the cold.
lost in spiritual ice,
like a crane stretches
from one shipwreck
to the next;
shipwrecked for good,
by an unsteady sea,
lingers on the beach.
Consider the consequences
of genius or exceptional eyes
and ears, limbs and
all the rest;
like the rest of us
consigned to jumping over
fences till death
do you part
from the earthly part,
the dross, the gloss
on the text;
consider the ant,
and fall back in line.
The fires of creation and
the winds of the muses
blew through Schiller’s head,
possessing him and possessed;
breathed on by divine lips,
eyes rolling like windmills,
he suffered the bread
of pain, the water
scribbled away and
the legions of the lesser
built their castles on his books,
built on his backbone.
in the dark German woods
Varus had his problems.
Rome marched back and forth
in the damp and the cold;
the southern Mediterranean light
paled, and went out.
dignity and sun
drew on enthusiasm;
the sacrifices of yore
dimmed to a point
and then all was light.
Light from the dome
blasted the dark
sides of the temples
white as sheets;
Schiller, at the
zenith of his flight,
as Zeno’s arrow
an eagle fixed.
Now on a table
grins at the skill
the bard shall not
go speechless to Orcus.
setting like Antares,
sees a pattern everywhere;
hope at the last.
you served us
better than most,
high as the Venusberg,
to the depths
of the Brocken.
Flesh and bone conjurers,
sufferers of human ills,
your secrets are safe
your honorable works
stand in unbroken ranks.
the dark side,
live off the flame;
balanced in Goethe’s hand,
grins like an ape,
and then dies again.
Mystic the moon-pools
of your willful soul,
those secret eyes buried
in your skull,
the skill to see,
the first light.
Dawn doth float
above the uneasy sleep
that God forgets;
heeding the call,
the littlest things,
the very worms,
like Cadmus creatures
of another breed,
wriggling out of the earth
turn to dragons.
You know it
before it happens;
Alone we two
fain would be;
the forests of
your fair eyebrows knit;
you see it all.
Outside the drawn curtains
the placid lawn takes a breath;
stepping forward in the east
the rosy, the hourless,
the enormous sun
starts up, showing
the rim of its everlasting eye.
Midnight, my cry sounded
up and down the bedroom,
you were gone,
gone your second sight;
I lay wounded,
Impossible in this dawn,
in this day arising,
if you came to me
there would be
in your sweet presence
than knowing the future;
at noon I work
Onward the sun on course,
dropping down the heavens
across this land comes
twilight slowly, then
dark and then the real
lights of heaven come on,
tiny and distinct,
and here on earth
the false ones.
You see it all,
clear as the neon signs
we see, the future
speaks to you,
and you tell us
the tragic end
of all our labors,
our mighty strivings.
In your prophecies,
thrown to the winds,
your truth for us
just as clear
as broken glass.
New York Down and Dirty
Some people walk
the barrios, the bad areas,
these crowded wicked streets,
these dark and menacing streets,
with a certain step;
no matter what
ken the way, have the means,
have defenses, have no fear, unease
or surmise no abiding danger,
of some jack-in-the-box,
a beating by
with some vengeful maniac.
Walking these streets,
others surrender cold turkey,
vox clamantis, to abject fear,
a fear that goes beyond the pale
of ignorance, of frailty
in the face of mayhem.
Look and see
this multifarious sprawl
of latticed streets, the surround of
stoop-ridden slatterns and drunks
punching holes through the fourth wall,
through the musings
of the home-bound banker,
suburbed in bitty splendor;
what does he know
of disorderly and crazy?
Of bumming, begging, stealing,
from quirky aggression
stinking of sweat
or higher than a kite
on parboiled gak?
This damned sorrowful city,
cut up in pieces not alike
for rich and poor.
Where are the steeples
that inspired the Dutch
to dour pride?
The rose-red brick
of blocky orderly buildings?
The clean-swept streets
of old New York?
Hustled away by time
and the march of multitudes.
this fabled lush land
of our rapacious forefathers
never was as real
as we make it.
New York! New York!
Gateway to the New World,
metropolis of wealth
side by side
with extravagant poverty;
the light is not for all.
No island gone to hell
but a paradise of vanity,
venality, slum of iniquity,
of skyscrapers, waiting
to swallow even biblical
Trope of mankind,
so many, too many;
you're rabbits by the abyss.
Relics appeared in Artifact Nouveau in 2016, and Cassandra in 2019in Scrittura Magazine.
Jack D. Harvey’s poetry has appeared in Scrivener, The Comstock Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review, The Chamber Magazine, Typishly Literary Magazine, The Antioch Review and elsewhere. The author has been a Pushcart nominee and over the years has been published in a few anthologies.
The author has been writing poetry since he was sixteen and lives in a small town near Albany, New York. He is retired from doing whatever he was doing before he retired.
Come quickly darkness
Hide this servant from the eyes
Of Deadly light
In your entwining arms
Sooth me with winds of fantasy
Blind my despair with your dark caresses
Come quickly Night
And sleep wiith me
In our bed of lonliness
Away from the inquiring day
Bare yourself to me
Let me rest in your brief ecstacy
Come quickly Night
Share with me
Your all consuming despair
Come quickly night-my mistress
all souls day
prayers for loved souls to purge their passing
reveal our grief this all souls day
the earth gives up its dead to-night
waiting to be received-
carrying marzipan skeletons
to place on their tombs we bring our offerings
of water, wine, oil and grain
sit and eat with them beside us
sharing our lives with them again-
i begin to recite the prayers for the dead
with the cross, the book, and sword
promising salvation and the cleansing of sins
of those whom we this day commemorate
to pass from their darkness to eternal light
"But though I have wept and fasted,wept and prayed."
whispered to a silver cross
shoulders turned away
completes the superstition
Joseph A Farina is a retired lawyer in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada. An award winning poet. Several of his poems have been published in Quills Canadian Poetry Magazine, Ascent ,Subterranean Blue and in The Tower Poetry Magazine, Inscribed, The Windsor Review, Boxcar Poetry Revue , and appears in the anthologies Sweet Lemons: Writings with a Sicilian Accent, cabadian Italians at Table, Witness from Serengeti Press and Tamaracks: Canadian Poetry for the 21st Century . He has had poems published in the U.S. magazines Mobius, Pyramid Arts, Arabesques, Fiele-Festa, Philadelphia Poets and Memoir (and) as well as in Silver Birch Press “Me, at Seventeen” Series. He has had two books of poetry published— The Cancer Chronicles and The Ghosts of Water Street .
am I god
am I real
can you catch covid from drinking blood
how to get blood out of white tuxedo
are capes still cool
vampire movies made by vampires
vampire costume cultural appropriation
dream about best friend being garlic monster what does it mean
will I always be ten
how to become human
how to become mortal
alive for thousand years want to die
can’t find partner in appropriate age group
no reflection might have something in teeth
used coffins for sale
what does the sun look like
J. Richard Kron is a writer and musician from Phoenix, Arizona. He holds a BFA in English from Arizona State University.
I saw the man by the river
He was the man with no shadow
He moved like fog up the sidewalk
I heard a noise at the window
I saw his eyes in the window
his eyes, they were hollow
And then he flowed through the doorway
Then my arm, he was touching
taken by fear I could not move
then his word it was spoken
I gazed at his face
I felt my soul leave my body
We were two men by the river
we were the men with no shadow
David Newkirk is a retired attorney. He is currently in the Master of Fine Arts program at the University of Missouri, Kansas City, where he is actively unlearning thirty years of writing like a lawyer.
The day glossed, lost to a tar black starry brush
The trees bare, stare at the water’s moonlit rush.
Waking leaves, unmaking their burnt orange bed
Walking, talking, eulogize departed seasons dead.
The year near end and only quarter full
The dark dresses the wolf in winter’s wool.
Algo is from Ireland. In self imposed self isolation, Algo only wears black and enjoys studying the school of Austrian Economics, reading comic books and meditating. Algo once believed he was a nihilist but now believes in something higher.
many have pursued their tracks
past rivers of bloodshed
gagged through that lingering stench
after flesh ignites,
so it’s cruel fiction, a myth,
that dragons are dead,
slain by St. George
and a few fairytale knights.
except a malicious dragon,
no beast can spew
napalmish flames to roast
teenage schoolgirls at first light
as they flee Mekong food markets
through swaying bamboo;
or savage Dresden’s pottery shops
and music halls
to exchange piercing screams
for opera stars’ debuts;
or seek a higher means
to terrorize and appall
as Nagasaki skeletons
rush for sacred parents’ tombs
while flesh is stripped from runners
before the dead can fall;
their toxic breath blisters and blinds
as its greenish plumes
strangle entrenched soldier boys
in Belgium’s mud and haze,
and stuns the already wretched
in their shower rooms
to adequately fill
each of Birkenau’s massive graves.
only a dragon’s machete claws
and razor teeth
can butcher a million Tutsis,
helpless, frantic, and lost
in Rwanda’s thick forests
of afrocarpus trees,
and in Sri Lankan swamps,
gnaw at the Tamils’ remains
to prove their appetite
for flesh cannot be appeased:
their vile thirst never quenched,
always more quarry to maim,
always more towns,
more fleeing victims to set aflame.
Raised on the blue-collar (textile) side of a small Southern town, John Michael Sears spent his college weekends rafting the Chattooga River and hiking the area around Linville Gorge Wilderness. He has lived and worked in a number of countries, many of them in the developing world and in places recovering from civil conflicts. His poetry has also been published in Floyd County Moonshine.
Even now I think
of your red featherless face,
your unscarved neck as taunt as an axe sheath—
picked clean as my uncaged spine.
I watched you take the smaller birds
under your wing,
then smear your crown with warpaint
to ward off the hyenas who pine for blood
along littered highways.
Your flock mediate between life and death.
Your guild bridge the Old World and the New
but for too long you’ve been maligned
and judged unclean,
tarred and feathered, banished to your wake.
No song to sing, no call or defense—
your voice a hiss of black wind
carrying the scent of poppies.
The world you cleanse passes us
in bright, shiny cars
as we build a temple on the side of the road.
They call you a henchman, a stooped goblin,
but we know you sacrificed a head of feathers
to lift the sun beyond the mountaintops
when it burned too close to earth.
They do not know you are the queen of the throne.
They do not know the volcanic acid in your gut
can strip the paint from their bright, shiny cars.
They do not know
that somewhere a woman holds a black feather
that guarantees the safe delivery of her child
while you scavenge me to the sky,
taking my tongue as your song.
The spells are getting worse
especially at night—
indigestion, difficulty swallowing
a static swarm of reflux,
all of which leads to bad dreams:
she was a badger
trapped in the crawlspace
of its burrow.
The animal council was there, too
holding court as if at the devil’s pulpit,
if you followed the zoning laws
this never would have happened,
and then suddenly someone
in the council, maybe the white-tailed deer, yells—
smoke it out, smoke it out
and then someone else—
burn, burn, burn
and when the witch awakes
to a day as flushed as a rosy-cheeked oven,
she knows she should see the family doctor
about her heart.
Fish Out of Water
Will I be stuffed with cosmos and carpet roses
like a straw man, my hours anchored
to the unsung eye of Sunday painters?
Will I be cast-off and scuttled, my ribs
sifted by divers in search of souvenirs?
Propped on wooden stilts
in the hollow of the salt marsh,
I am a fish out of water.
The green tidal grass bends
like waves against the bow.
The squall of blistering paint
started below the waterline, years ago
it spread like a ditch of cancer.
My old friends stopped coming by.
Saltmarsh sparrows flit from the cow licks
tufting the holes in my hull. Everywhere:
swaths of salt and rust, barnacle colonies.
Memories stopped coming by, too.
Did I fill the harbor to receive the Blessing of the Fleet
before a run to Georges Bank?
Did I lay traps in the cold waters off Vinalhaven?
When the wind blows
I rock in my wooden chair,
watching the light and shadow
wind along creeks and channels.
Soon I will see the settlers harvesting salt marsh hay,
their scythes swinging in the late summer sun—
haystacks piled like burial mounds across the tide.
The Truffle Hunter’s Complaint
Heart-shaped, my nose, I hold it aloft
like a scepter before settling down to business
at the perfume organ.
I bury myself, my trowel as smooth as polished bones,
in a scent map of soil and fossil, springtails, glacial stones
pestled in the earth’s fungal spleen.
I bury myself
beneath a hazelnut tree
the earthen-flax swabbing my snout
with a hint of rain and autumn chill,
a scent like love
but there is nothing here
but dark wood, dark water, and a cluster of wood blewits
holding their breath.
I root the beech wood, quarrying layers of earth
and time, because I alone divine the secrecy
of the forest.
I am the sacred pig. The White Sow. The mystery
of Demeter’s cult.
Down, down I go, burying and unburying myself
until at last I find the note
a musky black diamond coiled like a ram’s horn
around an unforgiving root.
And I should knock him to the forest floor
with his bucket of swill for bringing the hounds,
the way they poach and bracket the ground
too loyal, too eager to show their craft. But unable
to read the trees. Still, there are two of them
and only one of me. And I am not man’s best friend.
But who is to blame for this, I ask?
I am no slovenly earth butcher. It’s you who dragged me
to distant lands, fattened me, penned me
and muddied my name.
A Witch Takes Cure in the Waters of France
I’m nursed on mud
harvested from the clay beds of Abrest
and soaked in the springs of Vichy
until blue algae is like a cradle
in the golden bough.
The days are marked by rituals—
mineral water, steam, sugar cubes
wrapped in oiled paper,
and the moon, pink as a braided onion
draped over the handlebars of a bicycle,
shapes the movement of animals.
The night stalkers ambush.
The scorpion turns blue.
I show up for breakfast
in my robe and shower shoes,
read the regional papers
eat a breakfast of root vegetables.
According to Napoleon, carrots are the obligatory vegetable
of the sick.
I learned this from Germaine, the water girl, in 1906.
She ladled prescribed beverages
from a wicker holder,
and like a suicide filled her pockets with stones
to keep count of how many tonics
the curistes consumed.
These days it is self-serve terroir.
There are vending machines
that sell plastic cups in the Hall des Sources
where we gather like school children
at a soda parlor apothecary
to sip from the Earth’s cauldron,
a healing hell-broth simmering under the flame
of Hecate’s torch.
Damon Hubbs lives in a small town in Massachusetts. He graduated with a BA in World Literature from Bradford College. When not writing, Damon can be found growing microgreens, divining the flight pattern of birds, and ambling the forests and beaches of New England. His work is forthcoming in Book of Matches, Young Ravens Literary Review and Eunoia Review.
Teddy bear teddy bear
Cute as can be
Sitting on my dresser
Staring at me
Eyes of glass
With a smile stitched shut
All the more haunting
A stare so frigid
As cold as the serrated blade
That drew fresh blood
Where we have laid
The only witness
To the end of your life
To the end of your pain
Your suffering and strife
I know I did the right thing...
You would've done it too,
Alex says about his background: “I am a freelance poet, living in the suburbs of Philadelphia with my beloved spouse and children. An enthusiast of everything thriller/horror related, when not writing, you can find me working in a nursing home. You can find my haiku on Instagram @hauntedhaiku82.”
on a gauzy october breeze
tire swing sways
sliver of moon perforates
moldy gray clouds
curl of smoke streams
from brick-broken stack
though the old house
remains dark, shadowless
amber-red lights recede:
a waning 747
amid rural dereliction
hoot owl punctures
gusty squalls spiral
north, then northwest
a chill intrusion,
yowl & snap
a frigid perpetuity
Julie Allyn Johnson, a sawyer’s daughter from the American Midwest, loves walks in the woods, gravel-travel, photography, poetry and hiking in the Rocky Mountains. Her current obsession is tackling the rough and tumble sport of quilting. Her poetry appears in various journals including The Briar Cliff Review and Phantom Kangaroo.
Gazing out from the pane
Iridescent sky unfold,
Boundless and eternal
Pitch sable chamber,
Black, icy, delicate and soothing,
The Sound Of A Train In The Distance
Metallic and firm
Spectral vision of time from afar,
Cold and icy
Apparition haunting hills and mountains,
Lyrical composition - sorrow and death,
Relentlessly and brutally,
Travis J. Black (He/Him) is a gay poet, writer and visual artist living in Metro-Detroit Michigan. His work has appeared in Peeking Cat Poetry Magazine and the 200th anniversary book Determined Hearts: A Frankenstein Anthology. His work often explores the mysterious, imaginative and darker aspects of life. You can follow him on his author’s webpage at https://www.amazon.com/author/travisjblack
Give me the time,
I will tell you of fear
in the eyes of the crocodile-
Black and lifeless,
Summing up, stalking
While frozen in terror I stand
My son falls into
And takes, does the crocodile, my boy.
My arms they flail,
They beat about on
Water’s cold dead face;
Parting the deep,
Revealing small children,
And surrounding them, the crocodiles,
Their bodies long
Twisting slow in the ice.
So, I carry these children
Across, one dying step at a time;
Yet, still I sense
The crocodile’s black eyes
On me damning, hunting, burning
Me with this hate;
Promising me that,
Come the spring, he will find us again.
My boy clings fast
To my freezing body
as we make our way across
To stare, time and again,
Into hungry, black, lifeless eyes.
Blood, pitter patter, at right angles
From his chin to the floor falling.
Perfect circles. Perfect circles.
Naked body splayed out before him-
Science pig opened up, pinned down,
Strewn about for present eyes to see.
And the blood, the blood, squeezed like juice
From some unnamable piece of flesh
Gripped tightly between his fingers.
The cherry popped, a virgin no more
With no fear, life no longer a dream;
But a fantasy to be revealed, to be
Reveled in, basked in, rolled in, bathed in
This metallic, coppery taste
Spilled in a surreal train of pictures
Later to endlessly be replayed:
Uncomfortable fumbling, discomfort,
Unknowing fear lending to panic;
Pain and torture, torture and pain…
Gurgling, disbelieving death;
But the money shot: so like God:
Power, control, reality’s master.
An experience so vivid,
The memories, the film - a promise
That next time would be all the sweeter.
Blood in the Sycamores
Between Noodle Dome and Stink Creek
Out where our fathers hunted squirrels,
Dead in the middle of Crater Wash
Hard in the night, the moon waning
Headlights blaze white over mud flats.
Blood in the sycamores tonight
Splatters wet, crying out innocent.
Where we go, men were not meant to dwell.
Hearts grow shocking cold in ugly work.
Hands ill-prepared for wicked measures
Blister on the rough skin of shovels
Digging deep before the sun rises
Dead in the middle of Crater Wash.
Blood in the sycamores this morning
Dried to black circles on fading leaves
Made witness to passions of fallen men.
Time rolls on in floods flowing over the Wash,
Erases markers of makeshift graves
Where ghosts reside now forgotten.
Rumors once strong slowly drift away,
Make secret what the stars have seen.
Blood in the sycamores always
Accusing from beyond the silent,
Penitent men unforgiven.
What we have done, what we have chosen
Lies indelible in the record:
A thorn gone festered in my mind
For that night on Crater Wash.
Between Noodle Dome and Stink Creek
There is blood in the sycamores.
Peter Michael Bush is a mental health therapist in rural South Georgia. He spends his free time writing, editing and pondering his own existential dread. He has been involved with powerlifting for over thirty years and has been writing for longer than that. Pete has completed three novels but considers himself a poet first as that is where all of these high jinks began. His work has been published in Albatross, The Poet’s Pen, Dream Fantasy International, The Florida Times Union, Independent Ink, Midwest Literary Magazine, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature and Anatomy.
Put your ears on the wall.
There's a vile element in the concrete,
A phantasm of the moors.
This scullery is built atop
what once was a necropolis
and they buried masses of all hues six feet under.
Surely, the children have played here
and even spotted a finger bone or two
near the tree.
hisses a curse,
'Deux Ex Machina'
or invokes a native sermon.
It thrills me
but grips like a vice
like how Master's eyes
lock with mine,
a tinge of forbidden desires
in the slow steps he takes
towards the kitchen door.
Nuns and sinners alike
speak various tongues.
with the decaying yellow haunting
of the afternoon.
The very light is stricken,
separate from the entities of the night that lurk like
Lizzie and Bridget,
their secrets bitten under every lip.
The cat sits there,
and seeming as placid as Granny
on her rocking chair.
The phantasm from the moors
glows in the shadowed veil
of this room
and then whispers a dirty secret in my ears.
and frigid as the history of this town.
Did you hear it?
Previously published in Visual Verse.
The writer’s name is Prithvijeet Sinha from Lucknow, India. He is a post graduate in MPhil from the University of Lucknow, having launched his prolific writing career by self publishing on the worldwide community Wattpad since 2015 and on his WordPress blog An Awadh Boy’s Panorama(https://anawadhboyspanorama.wordpress.com/)
Besides that, his works have been published in several varied publications as Hudson Valley Writers Guild, Piker Press Online, anthology Pixie Dust and All Things Magical published by Authors Press( January, 2022), Cafe Dissensus, The Medley, Screen Queens, Confluence- South Asian Perspectives, Reader’s Digest, Borderless Journal, Lothlorien Poetry, Live Wire, Rhetorica Quarterly, Ekphrastic Review, Chamber Magazine, The Quiver Review, Dreich Magazine, Visual Verse and in the children’s anthology Nursery Rhymes and Children’s Poems From Around The World ( AuthorsPress, February 2021), among others.
Hungry rabid dogs
Jump in quickly
Dogs hate water
Cal and Kay
His name was Cal,
he lived by night.
If you met him,
you'd get a bite,
and wished you had
stayed in till light.
He met a girl,
her name was Kay,
but not like him,
she lived by day.
He sought a witch,
and had to pay.
The spell did work,
his fangs won't grow,
and his eyes lost
their bright red glow.
Cal looked for Kay,
she had to know.
Where did she go?
Cal had no clue.
When Cal found Kay
her new fangs grew,
and her eyes had
a bright red hue.
Mist entered the open window
and hung in the air,
transforming into a vampire
with a red-eyed stare.
Moonlight shone on the
woman lying in the bed.
The vampire glided forward
and bent over her head.
Startled, the woman screamed,
then looked at her clock.
"You're late," she scolded.
"And you forgot to knock."
“Cal and Kay” and “Night Caller” were originally published in The Creativity Magazine in 2020.
K. A. Williams lives in North Carolina. Her stories and poems have been published in many magazines including The Chamber, Black Petals, Corner Bar, Tigershark, Page & Spine, Altered Reality, View From Atlantis, The Sirens Call, and Trembling With Fear. Apart from writing, she enjoys rock music, and CYOA games.
Good night and hello, my wandering one,
Deep in the moors, and whence did you come?
Quaking and pale, cheeks kissed from the winter,
Frost in your hair, lips frozen and splintered.
Step over my ’thresh, blackened by mold,
Smothers the spot of whitening gold,
Tortuous star in celestial tower,
A shriveled heart, now ashen flower.
Surely you pity this human-like form,
This diet of red, this home among worms,
Prostrate the dust, alone with the slaughter,
Stretched upon bones of unfortunate daughters.
Why do you shrink, my sweet little meat?
My body has ceased, but eyes still may weep,
Take hold of my fingers, sink into the clay,
For shame, wary boy, you now turn away?
Come to this corpse, breathe into the tomb,
I came from the fire, torn straight from its womb,
Throat withers within, I gasp for the veins,
Along with the twilight, a stolen life wanes.
Bernadette’s work has appeared in a variety of literary magazines, including Ruminate, Braided Way, Introvert, Dear, and The Mindful Word. When she isn’t exploring her latest existential crises, she dabbles in writing children’s literature as well. She can be found at https://www.bernadetteharris.net/.
Every night she appears
From her position of nowhere
To her position of somewhere
From behind the magic of a cloud
And I look despondently at her
From my perch at the window,
Drunk on the melodies of music
And embers of light in the darkness
And she looks down at me
With a bored but petulant rage,
Flicking me with a powerful finger
To put me in my place
And knock me down
Just as I am rising
Every night I corkscrew deeper
Into the sameness madness
Of a love that is wan,
That is not tender,
Crushed between the fingers of the moon
And floating further out
Into the vast useless discomposure
Of a promiseless
And the next
Holding on inside to the very things
That have cast me
Into the void
The smell of matches lit in vain
For candles whose long wicks remain
But are irresolutely soaked in the tears
Of ghosts who never lived here
But in a place I was banned
That I imagine I would see in my dreams
If I still had dreams.
Even when I close my eyes
I cannot get much rest.
After all these years,
living more than half a life
in fear and obscurity –
I will not, cannot relax.
The poetic term would be Respite.
No respite for me.
Perhaps it’s because I have words missing
as if chunks of memory deleted.
Faith. Bravery. Trust.
I search for those words
and when I find them
I break them open,
only to find their shells empty.
Standing on the beauty of a silvery sand,
held up by trillions of kernels,
tiny and abrasive individually
and all I can feel is alone,
No respite for me.
When the water laps up to me,
No matter how good it feels,
I back away.
No respite for me.
After all these years
and all that’s happened
I’m still afraid to stand
at the open window
unless the shades are drawn.
I close my eyes,
the lids shutting abrasively.
The breeze is there
but the shade absorbs it.
It doesn’t matter
if it’s dark or light out there.
I’m naked and afraid,
my skin untouched.
No respite for me.
John Tustin’s poetry has appeared in many disparate literary journals since 2009. fritzware.com/johntustinpoetry contains links to his published poetry online.
Raven’s cry in broad daylight
twiggy corpses holding black oracles, bright sparks in a sea of melted wax
Sanctuaries of hope
dance with death, candles ooze pale essence, moss feasts decaying stones
returning to black, crooked branches, shriveled skeletons, inky feathers stain my suit
His thunderous voice
silent forever, a fiery passion dead silent, the red stadium’s heart forever still
of the inevitable, Valkyries watch through beady eyes, sharp scythes snuff out lights
Life demands sacrifice
for eternal youth, rigor mortis seals an obsidian prophecy, ashes to ashes, oracles await
disciples, messengers of a terrifying truth, tax collectors for precious time you owe
Black banshees cry
for the damned, winged shadows flocking in the night, final debt paid
black taxi makes its stop.
A small patch of gold.
Maple ripples on sweet bread.
Food packet feasts mine.
Bright blue brings out green.
Light in merciless sea.
Bounties of wisdom.
Candles melt away at night.
The black taxi makes its rounds.
Traceless wheels screech.
White homes fade, life source leaves now.
Lone bungalows weep.
A new sun arrives.
Shadow tires gone; mark left.
Passengers aboard destination unknown.
Four Years of Hell
I am charred black
soul bitter. Demons in all shapes fractured my mind
contaminating my soul. My pure heart shriveled sweet and sour.
Like the Messiah
kindness was rewarded with cruelty. A crown of thorns
piercing my brain. Judas’s disciples blend in menacing groups.
My ears bleed
from the lies of the foul tonged. Satan’s legacy flourishes here
lies, serpents, and rumours. Power hungry vultures linger around every corner.
The foul stench of evil
contaminates my nostrils. The sheep huddle together
to look powerful. Guardians turn a blind eye to the foulest creatures.
The light of a soul
fades like the sun in this cold, dark place. Surrounded by monsters
and demons, masking as human beings. They infect the weak with their childhood sickness.
The Prey perish
as the Predators pounce. Kindness is rewarded with cruelty here,
the defenceless punished and banished. Four years is a torture chamber here.
Hope of many
is forever trapped here. Long gone, long perished even after the four years ended.
I never believed in Hell, but a place as evil as this, only proves such a place exists.
Callum McGee is a passionate BA creative writing student at Edge Hill University. His short horror story has been published on the official EHU magazine/newspaper The Quack’s blog. Callum is working on a debut fiction novel based on many Native American tribal cultures and beliefs. However, he also writes poetry tackling societal issues such as pollution, bullying, and inequality. Callum prefers writing from 1st personal point of view across his writing genres. However, he can write in 3rd or 2nd person points of view to expand his writing craft.
heat and sweat salted grit on my neck
the cocktail ridge of loose blown sand
black feathers glean high on black mare's head
eyes wide nostrils open in the hot dust
the single caw of a raven above
all somehow in this room in hours
unknown, between the fever and the heart
that fears a landscape seen only in photographs
but owned by time blood and tears
does it call me or am I the caller
voices in two tongues
the lamentation of my birth voice
and its evolvement to some shattered hybrid
warning of raven and lizard whispers
a place of measurement and balance
do I answer or have I been already charged
at the full wolf moon rising
loose dogs prick their ears
the silence of the cold night air
descends on those who
are half in their beds
waiting for mercy
like a lullaby to blanket them
outside the moon rises higher
cold coyote eyes
follow it to its culmination
knowing there is no mercy in its light
to either men or pack
what we leave behind
I have known all the days
their low and high appointments
the mornings, evenings and afternoons
each sunrise's different colour
each sunset's imitations
measured my time by the sun's chronometer
the lengthening and shortening of shadows
the phases of the moon
from wolf to harvest to cold
the wind's voice in each season
the telling scent of autumn
the frigid kiss of winter
my greatest moments
like shooting stars
flash and disappear
not even a scar
to say that this was me
Joseph A Farina is a retired lawyer in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada. An internationaly award winning poet. Several of his poems have been published in Quills Canadian Poetry Magazine,The Chambers Magazine, Ascent ,Subterranean Blue and in The Tower Poetry Magazine, Inscribed, The Windsor Review, Boxcar Poetry Revue , and appears in many anthologies including: Sweet Lemons: Writings with a Sicilian Accent, Canadian Italians at Table, Witness from Serengeti Press and Tamaracks: Canadian Poetry for the 21st Century . He has had poems published in the U.S. magazines Mobius, Pyramid Arts, Arabesques, Fiele-Festa, Philedelphia Poets and Memoir (and) . He has had two books of poetry published— The Cancer Chronicles and The Ghosts of Water Street.
amidst hide-covered bones she rides him around the smell of death
greasy lips frozen with inexplicable mirth
little legs pasted against foul, matted withers
her beast tripping hooves, like a clown ready for market
she moves him on with chubby hands clenched at raw twine
looped carelessly around and through a gaping mouth and frightened eyes
rolling, lurching with her astride
pounding thin-skinned flanks
rocking an angry child
a hobby horse parading
caught in her own
the knacker’s thrill
around and around rocking the dying pony
and she never asks where he went
daddy’s singing the auctioneer’s song
in stained concrete
through rat-maze wood and beyond
sawdust clumped with blood
echoing outside where cowboys stand
the girl now a woman
watches worn animals with curtained eyes
her rough hands mounting
once again the auctioneer sings “she’s on”
now squatting in dirt
she meets the gaze of another in pain
a beast, shifting crippled weight broken-
no longer creatures of interest
they cannot speak and their bodies rattle numb
and the knackers don’t bid
Olga Alexandra lives in the steamy South and writes horror and crime fiction. She has stories forthcoming in Shotgun Honey and Amazon Kindle Vella. For more info please visit http://www.linkt.ree/olgaalexandra.
You are a wallet photo, unseen,
Dusty atoms of carbon,
Clinging to the plastic strand of a hand brush,
Returned to its place after all was undone
beneath the sinks
You remained, an oil print on my birthday glass,
Whose pleasing shape you drank from,
Had I cleansed myself of you, almost,
A fingertip would reveal itself weeks later,
Uniquely yours, apparently
The dining room rug rolled up, but
Only at the corner, from slipping feet
Retained a trace of flawless skin,
A single hair strayed there too,
The morning trickle of the light made it less visible,
Refusing to be extinguished
I discovered these memories of you,
an infinite desiccation, evidentially
To always be there, with our treasured last words
an indelible truth, typed in hard print,
In the forensic report
Gavin Turner is a writer of dark fiction and poetry. Some of his work is published via his website gtpoems.wordpress.com
“To wake , and hear a cock
out of the distance crying”
— Dawn, Philip Larkin
To eat and hear a scream.
To rise and peer through a foggy window
To lose and loose the self to a waking dream
and feel behind you the Shadowman grow.
How normal it is
for muscles to freeze and eyes choke on the mind’s conspiracy.
The mind let unwind with a whip
A Cat-Of-Nine made of neurons
Flailed at grey matter with barbed tips.
Made him stiff, slobbering like a moron.
In these hallucinations he could not escape
though he knew the machines weren’t real
Knowing is not enough when grinding pain
tenderizes and you’re the entree, grilled veal.
Whatever gnawed at his inner thigh
percolated through his skin
always at his periphery, out of sight
not mind, his sanity worn thin.
His wife, paralyzed, drooling, stared wide-eyed,
bed bound, binging his dream, with each bite she died.
David Arroyo is a nerd and ex-catholic. His Dungeons & Dragons alignment is Neutral Good. He holds an MA in English from Florida State University and a MFA in Creative Writing from Stonecoast. He’s published poetry in Club Plum, Stirring, Silver Blade, Burning Word, and Abyss & Apex, and most recently in Coffin Bell and Nocturne. His Twitter handle is StarSmashrX.
It's one of those nights
when the moon slips free
of the clouds;
one of those nights
when the wind blows free,
unleashed from the upstarting
contours of the land,
sweeping, rushing across
the wastes of
the immortal boundless sea,
aimless and energetic
at some newfound destination.
across the long bays,
in which great brother waves
under the moon's bright face,
bright as death's scythe,
press on roaring
until they come to rest,
flat and quiet,
on the moonlit shore.
Heroes young and old
on nights like these;
memories of the god-feasts,
the dark woods, the sacred tree
dim and nearly gone now.
In those days witches
could doctor the dark,
pull down the moon
if they had to;
sent to war in Sicily
didn't need a moon
sunk to earth,
the omen of
a technicolor moon,
dimming to naught;
too long hesitating, then
at the wrong time retreating,
led his army to its doom.
But gracious fellow-travelers,
lovers of the glory that was,
it's the self-same moon,
stripped of portents,
floats over Cuba,
floating over Miami, too,
over a moon-startled girl
feeling her boy
bent over her,
passionate in her,
rhapsody of movement.
Overhead, in the heavens,
look off in all directions,
seeing all, and not wanting to see,
by an expanding universe
sending them on their way
and down below,
by the light of
the silent indifferent moon
a boy and a girl
in a paratactical now,
in a perfection of now
and no wild Nicias moon
turning red, blue and sallow
to spoil the moment
to slow or speed
the whole shebang
from measured order
to some desperate fatal mistake.
There is that in God
which is not gaud
feeding the chickens
Honorius muttered in Latin,
not brooking a report
how you say?
like a chicken
its neck wrung.
Jesus, the beautiful faces,
the villas where Sallust
the beautiful noble stones
the shithouses, aqueducts, roads
but she fed the world
a long time
a line of law
and the bloody emperors
her hills, her people,
covered the steppes,
the western isles.
In the ruins of Rome,
in Illyria, in Britain,
bitter winter brings down
clattering on bronze
and marble alike.
We will not see Hadrian
again rebuilding the walls.
You can’t hide your hideway
when beggars come calling;
every haven has its day,
every port and refuge;
the cold tomorrows
come out of the distance
unstable as emperors,
demanding as children
and food for thought
feeds no one.
Your secret place, your kingly manse?
Don’t board up all the doors,
your earthly paradise
has a few snakes inside
and minstrels and other rabble
to knock down all.
You alone unhidden
prominent as a sequoia,
Simon of the stele.
Revelation is God’s alone;
hidden in the deep,
his submarine love
discovers all secret places;
you are naked as
a jaybird in his sight.
So cast it all away,
armed in your own flesh
Surrender is a place
impregnable and portable
shake your iron off;
you were mourning
ere you saw
the glory of the days
coming and the days
twisted up, by-
Blonde she was
on the boulevard,
in crescent of
white as Lear’s
the old power
coming easy as
The moon, flat
as a cookie,
wreaths of smoke
lie fallow in space.
But blonde on a
bicycle goes fast
the ripple of her
all of us,
of no adventure.
turn the rudder
No blondes heave to
in the moonlight;
your bed, empty
as a car,
A.U.C was published 14 years ago in Poetry Bay, Dulce Domum in 2017 in Pif Magazine, Elba several years ago in Zombie Logic Review, and Dearth in Duane’s Poetree. Moon has never been published.
Jack D. Harvey’s poetry has appeared in Scrivener, The Chamber Magazine, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Typishly Literary Magazine, The Antioch Review, The Piedmont Poetry Journal and elsewhere. The author has been a Pushcart nominee and over the years has been published in a few anthologies.