Monday, May 28, 2018


no alchemy here in the
forest of the mind where the
murdered children will only ever
be what they are

no roads in or out and the
buildings have all
been reduced to rubble

kirchner watches the soldiers
burn his paintings

rothko considers his reflection
in the bathroom mirror

isn’t sure the pills will be enough
and so he grabs a razor blade
and there is nothing you can tell
your children but pale versions
                         of darker truths

there are no poems worth
writing, only those worth stealing

only gods waiting to be defiled

a blessing

devil is a pagan beast and
the days pass slowly in
the back of his luminous mind

grey sun in a chrome sky and
the crushing weight of all of your
sad little self-inflected wounds

all the ages of man just
leading up to extinction

give the gun to your
lover’s son and tell him who to hate

try to find words for the
things that really matter

and are you a believer?

are you a holy beacon?

let the ones on fire burn

let the suicides believe in
a better world

no gracious gods here, no
laughter of children in
wildflower meadows

crow dreams of the ocean but
lives his life lost in the desert

has his pills and his cloven tongue and
the vague news of a priest
held prisoner there

has a mouthful of broken glass but
still screams his belief into an
indifferent sky

whispers motherfucker

says nothing
but pulls the trigger

has visions of bloody handprints
across his lover’s naked body and
understands that his heart is a cage

that his mind is
a windowless room

stands alone in the darkest
corner and finds the devil there

after charlotte st.

make yr life

all poems are
poems about death

all sunlight
is literal

keep changing the
names, of course,
because too much truth
is the same as too
much heroin

keep telling beth
you’ve always loved her
but say it from a
distance of

jesus it’s
got to get boring
being such a

the oblique

sunlight in the
spaces between houses

map of loss

geography of both
memory and sorrow and
then what?

find the man with the
crosses carved into his palms

find the one with the head of
a crow,
with the mind of a jackal

the junkie hymns are
what matter here,
and the prayers
of murdered dreamers

gold and myrrh and that
all gifts are weapons

that all lovers
believe in resurrection

the heart betrays the body
but then the
body betrays the soul

ecstasy precedes despair

the desert spreads without
mercy in every direction


a lack of pain, maybe,
or at least a diminishing of it

warmth, but not peace

tension, yes, fear, yes, on and
on both of them until they feel like
all you’ve ever known, and when
you tell the kid to cut himself,
he does

when you tell the woman to
get undressed, to get on
her knees, she does

sorrow is its own
form of blindness

hatred is the driving
wheel of western thought

if you close your eyes, you
can already hear the next
war approaching

dog on fire

baby is found dead in
the back seat

is red and blistered
and the air between his
tiny hands
too hot to breathe

the world of
human error too
large to comprehend

John Sweet

I Am Tired of Hearing about the Underground
I am tired of hearing about the underground.
Like there are moles under the marble flooring
feeling their way through the darkness.

It is the written word.
Yes, it is a tough racket.

But all this nonsense about shit eating alligators
down in the sewers.

And the way some embrace it.
Like the guy who pounds spikes through his nose
for the travelling circus.

Give me a press that strives.
Never at the expense of itself,
but with dreams large enough to
fall out of love with.


The mail comes
and she asks me
do you know anyone
in Malta?

No, I say.

Well you got a package from Malta,
it looks weird.
Did you piss someone off in Malta?
It looks like one of those packages
full of anthrax.

I stand back and tell her to open it.

It’s taped shut, she says.

That’s to keep the powder inside,
I say.

Then she tells me the good news is that
the antibiotic she on right now
is the one they use for anthrax.

When she opens the package,
a single slim volume of poetry
falls out.

I am one of the contributors.

I guess I do know someone in Malta,
I say.                    

She keeps looking down into the empty
envelope as those she is disappointed
there is nothing else.

One of Micheline’s (for Brenton Booth)

no bullshit wordsmith
from down under
started this
no bullshit magazine
called The Asylum Floor
and he
got in touch with
Jack Micheline’s son
who said
he could look
through his father’s paintings
and choose one
for the cover of the second
issue, which may not
be a big deal
in the circles you travel,
but you can bet
your ass
it’s like Mardi Gras
in these

Words on a Flyleaf

Anyone can put words, but what are the right words?
I pause to think of something poignant and come up with nothing.
Something sincere, we have had enough nincompoop
witty already.  But what to say… 
And it hardly helps that the receiver of said sentiments
is standing over your shoulder the entire time waiting to see
what you write.  A man should not suffer performance
anxiety from signing a book, but that is what is happening here.
And you can see your very skill as a wordsmith questioned,
the look on the face saying: if a man can’t write a few words
down on a flyleaf, how the hell did he write the book?
Did he write the book?  His name is on it, but that doesn’t mean
anything these days.  People put their names on everything
without even thinking.  And each time pen approaches paper,
it gets a little quieter in the room.  As though you are a groundhog
that mustn’t be spooked lest their be six more weeks of winter.
And pen touching paper finally, I dash something off. 
What a ridiculous fool I am.  Smudging my hand in a silly
black ink that won’t come off.

I Don’t Write in Closets

I’ve been told I couldn’t write my way out of closet
which is fine with me because I don’t write
in closets.

That would be weird.
All those white dress shirts
hanging above you like
lazy bedsheets
after the clan.

Which reminds me,
critics are flies to the manure pile
that is their thesaurus.

Looking for ever colorful ways
to drag a fishing line behind the boat
of popular opinion.

Hoping someone will sink
thinking that means they have
finally come up for air.
Ryan Quinn Flanagan 

Saturday, May 19, 2018

in her panties and a long shirt
i saw the woman
across the street
smoking a cigarette
in her panties and
a long shirt the
other morning
i spent a little
longer than usual
looking for the
newspaper that
i believe her

husband noticed

J.J. Campbell

the closest thing to happiness
i often find myself
dancing with a devil
and pretending i'm
actually enjoying
the ride
happiness is a
fool's errand at
best anymore
one of these days
i will be dead and
none of this shit
will matter
that's the closest
thing to happiness
i can imagine

J.J. Campbell

ample regrets
there are
when the
lush trapped
inside of me
wants to put
a saddle on
that unicorn
and embrace
the pain of
a brand-new
lost in the
sorrow and
remorse of
ample regrets
i can't help
but imagine
her lonely
eyes and
my lost soul
bumping into
each other
spilling a drink
and then having
to decide
be angry or
fall in love

J.J. Campbell

Response to a Suicide Note

You have more to live for

You just don't see the
clouds of your brain
right now

Throw it away


There is a lot more to live for

Think of the things that make you happy
They are in abundance

Focus on the good

There is much insight to be had
Think this through

Think this through

Talk to someone
Get the help you need and deserve

Throw it away

Throw it the fuck away
You don't need it

Everyone is here for you
Rooting for you to get better

If you can't do it for you,
do it for me

I don't want to be writing
about your suicide for the
next 20 years

Adam Levon Brown

Stars in Your Eyes

Fast forward one month

We were officially a couple
and the sun shined on me with
all of its praise for the first time in my life.
Waking up every day was an exciting journey.
I would awaken to a nibble on my ear,
someone sitting on me, or someone laughing.

She was heavily into skating, so our first
weeks together were spent at a skateboard shop
called Sk8ers. The display model of a skateboard
was in place for people to practice their moves.

Just to emphasize how bad my injury was,
I was bed-ridden for a week
I walked up to that board like I was

Tarzan and ready to slide along the trees.
I tried an Ollie and the board slipped
from underneath me as if I was one of the

Mario Brothers being swept away by an angry turtle.
I landed on the cement floor underneath and wondered
what the hell had just happened.

She laughed and laughed and laughed.
The pain was excruciating, but my ego took the biggest punch.
 I hobbled over to the couch and she followed behind.

While nursing my shrunken head, she initiated a kiss.
The fireworks from the movie, “Mulan” exploded into my head.

While drunk on dopamine, I decided to try to say something romantic.
All that came from my mouth was,

“You have stars in your eyes”

Damn I was good.

 I knew that at any moment, we would be off to my parents’ apartment to begin making out.

This wasn’t the case.

She laughed even harder than when I fell and I sat there awkward, with a face full of ketchup embarrassment.  
I quickly changed the subject and asked if she wanted to go eat.

She wore a smile that seemed to say,

“God, I’m with an idiot, but he’s sweet.”

We left to the Mcdonald’s down the road. She walked, while I strutted along like a geriatric
pool of sweat.

Adam Levon Brown

Misery Hates Company

It's not that I
don't love you.

You must understand
that I've made loneliness

A lifestyle. I am so broken
that tears no longer come.

You must understand
that the Sun is just a

contorted memory.
Darkness is my truth

And I plan on telling it.
Fly away, my dove of light.

Adam Levon Brown

The Numbness Pervades

Dead eyes can
only see so far

When the vultures
come to feast

There will be carrion
that will resist

They will resist
but die trying

Such is the darkness
that swallows my psyche

An enigma of a black
hole trapping my spirit

In its chains of misery.
Life succumbs to lies

and bones of the celestial
become numb

Death is your shadow
that follows

And In the end, there
is only numb

Adam Levon Brown

Queer Confessional

Thinking about men
has only seemed natural
to me for 21 days and 6 hours.

Years spent denying my very core
and reveling in the fact
that I could do it.

The war has ended
and the dust has settled.
Cobwebs in my heart

have been replaced
with a renewed vigor.
I don't know where to go

from here, but my eyes
are set to the sky.
I am free.

Adam Levon Brown

Helpless I do not know if good intentions prevail among the elected, among the appointed, leaving me apprehensive that the fate ...