Forgotten Promise by Bruce McRae

After the rainbow,
a pillow stuffed with dreams and mites.
A carnation dipped in gun oil.
A request from Death’s neighbour.

After the rainbow, a meteor.
Scuffling among the cutlery.
A village swallowed by the countryside.
Spectres sparring.

The rainbow, painted on a cellar wall
by the blind sorcerer’s daughter.
Under a tin bucket of milk.
Remote and indifferent
to men’s strife and the causes of suffering.

After the storm, a rainbow.
Walking a tightrope. Twisting a wire.
Mocking the sounds we make
before nightly retiring.
As peculiar as lost money.
Like finding a finger in the snow.

The one that shows itself at night.
The deer’s god and raven’s deformity.
What the prisoner on the gallows saw
through the folds of his departure.

Pushcart-nominee Bruce McRae is a Canadian musician with over 900 publications, including Poetry.com and The North American Review. His first book, ‘The So-Called Sonnets’ is available from the Silenced Press website or via Amazon books. To hear his music and view more poems visit ‘TheBruceMcRaeChannel’ on Youtube.

Talk Like a Pirate Day on D Block by SaraEve Fermin

Is that why they call me
A sullen girl, sullen girl
They don’t know
I used to sail the
Deep and tranquil sea
-Sullen Girl, Fiona Apple

1.
Call her fish out of water.
Broom unenchanted.
Pussy unpurred.
Dragon unroarred.
Bitch unvoiced.
Rage unfisted.
Cackle unsharp.
Pack separated.
Call her tame.
Call her caged.
Call her complacent.
Call her bae.
Call her wifey.
Call her domesticated.
Call her Stockholm Syndrome.
Call her statistic.
Call her get over it.
Call her ‘NOT ANOTHER’.
Call her proper.
Call her property.

2.
call her.
The power that resides in your most dormant
place, right now, it begs to sing. Call her now.
Call the Mermaid, Call the Sirens,
call the Moon and tell her the Sea wants to play.
We have yet ANOTHER story
to tell.

SaraEve is a performance poet and epilepsy advocate from New Jersey. She is the founding editor of Wicked Banshee Press (2014) and a 2013 Women of the World Poetry Slam Competitor. Her work can be found in GERM Magazine, WordsDance, Transcendence and Ghost House Review as well as sever other online journals. You can follow SaraEve on Twitter.

Girls Night Out by S. Kay

Lips Uptown
She wears fuzzy ears with flashing lights as she dances on the bar, watching bachelorettes down celebratory glow-in-the-dark shots.

Eager Beavers
We gals do maple whiskey body shots at Eager Beavers, the Canadian exploitation strip club where the staff wears plaid flannel thongs.

Lusty Ladyland
A bachelorette gets up with the dancer, twerking in a satin club dress. She kisses the girl and likes it, jumping down for a sugary shot.

SciSexy Dancebot Spectacular
A robot poledances, while a woman in a futuristic microbikini toasts me with free Moonshots. My bridesmaids take a selfie for social media.

Sour Cherry’s Pie Stand
We do too many fruit shooters at the local organic cabaret. Drag queens squeeze juice while they lip sync, and read us over dessert.

Girls Girls Girls
I gain five pounds from girls’ night out, and when I try out for the amateur strip show, they say I’m too fat. Figures. Men.

S. Kay writes one tweet at a time. Her debut book Reliant, a collection of tweet-sized sci fi stories, will be published by theNewerYork Press in 2015. You can follow S. Kay on Twitter.

Ode To A Blank Page by DS Peters

Stark beauty
and vast potentiality
you are the foundation
of all that I was
all that I am
all that I ever will be
Pristine in any shade
with lines
pale grains
or absolute nothingness
you are a poem before ink
ever mars your surface
I look at you
and love you
love you
love you
for hours until my hands
shake, my spirit
bursts and I scar you
repeatedly

DS Peters earned his MFA from Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, NY, and obtained his BA from UW-Milwaukee. He writes speculative fiction, earthbound fiction, poetry and odd bits of non-fiction. He is a traveler and currently resides in South Korea where he works as a professor, and observes human behaviour. You can keep up with DS Peters at http://www.dspeters.net

They Couldn’t Breathe by Gregg Williard

Many children were just falling asleep in their new iron lungs when the polio vaccine arrived. The children had trained eagerly. In the happy embrace of their Jules Verne homes they gasped with pressures of disbelief. Haggard Mothers cried, “Don’t take them out! They belong to the tubes! To Jules Verne, not Jonas Salk! Don’t bring them back to the bellow and shank-stropping public tenementaries of orphaned wastrel concubines! To the coal tar pits for child labor exclusion laws! To the martini beatings in Levittown! Let them go and live in the undersea amusement centers for boys and girls without lungs!”

The iron lungs hissed defiance to this Jonas Salk. A modern-day pure oxygen mix of curses to all that doubt, and girls were made of then—part chamber of panting steel, part promise of a tempting blazing combustion like some around every boy and girl that ever had the loss of negative pressure, the flaccid breath, this Jonas Salk, this modern day Whale-swallowed Nemo one! What boys shiny hygienic chamber of panting steel, part promise of a dancing polio of world had we made for them to breath within, a gasping, hissing dream of tube or tank to fill endless days with the fluid of dreams and machines on the go, submersion, conversion, gill girl mutant debutant balls held in radium baths, the hatchery bath of adjusted pressures, as the Cold War Bible sayeth, “on the line with The Iron Lung risking his own life! He injected the silver submarine into and vials denied all miniaturization and grace by the technology. An Iron lack of the press of life that later would mimic the plastic scuba men propelled through bathtubs by a leaden club foot of expanding baking powder!

Death to the boys and girls outside, life to those crewing submarines of negative pressure within the fleet of atom powered subs within! The Sulking Jonah, Jonas Salk, put the hemostats modern day whale! Watch out! The iron lung is hissing its pure oxygen mix of curses to all that doubt, and girls were made of then—He injected the silver submarine into the belly of the white whale, and when it was time to inject a polio-free subject, Jonas did not balk. He injected himself, his wife and his three sons with the silver vaccine! What massive, iron, tonka twonkiepart chamber of panting steel, part promise of a dancing polio of world had we made for them to breath within, a gasping, hissing dream of tube or tank to fill endless days with the fluid of dreams and machines on the go, submersion, conversion, gill girl mutant debutant balls held in radium baths, the hatchery bath of adjusted pressures, as the Cold War Bible sayeth, “on the line with The Iron Lung risking his own life! He injected the silver submarine into the belly of the white whale, and when it was time to inject a polio-free subject, Jonas did not balk. He injected himself, his wife and his three sons with the silver vaccine! What massive, iron, tonka twonkie Lionel erector chemistry sets of tanks and chambers, modern day whale! Watch out! The iron lung test tubes and vials denied all miniaturization and grace by the technology an Iron Lung shall be wrapped in an the belly of the white whale, and when it was time to inject a polio-free subject, Jonas did not balk. He injected himself, his wife and his three sons with the silver vaccine! What massive, iron, tonka twonkie Lionel erector chemistry sets of tanks and chambers, test tubes iron curtain of breath!”

Gregg Williard creates fiction, non-fiction and visual art. His work has appeared in Diagram, decpmP, Anemone Sidecar, Wisconsin Art and Ideas and Artocratic, among others.

Number 165 by John Grey

next Christmas.
given Harry Potter horns
I even asked Santa for rakshasa –
and virgin, whatever that means.
but I expect you’d prefer something older
sketched what I imagined you must look like.
but already skinned a toad,
But, don’t worry, by the way,
defiling, fouling, deserted house, abandoned mill.
everything dermatology offers,
glory in gory newspaper details.
hellfire is safe with me.
I follow your career with awe.
the other kids in Kindergarten.

John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in New Plains Review, Rockhurst Review and Spindrift with work upcoming in South Carolina Review, Gargoyle, Sanskrit and Louisiana Literature.

Plastic Legs by Ethan Taylor

Thaw me as a child with plastic legs
And apprehension of a shoe box Christmas,
And I will wait for theme park dreams
And the head shots taken at track speed
To justify the birth I wasn’t there for.

Only then can I recall the great leisure
The work strives, shift by shift, to murder,
As a set of crows just left of centre,
Beating the patchwork crops sown by men
Fed by a clown with a thirsty smile.

Too many critics and not enough art
And I can’t even get out of bed
To make a living or an excuse
Or a mistitled wager on a finish line
I won’t ever cross on these plastic legs.

Ethan Taylor is a twenty year old student studying Acting at the Guildford School of Acting in the UK. He has recently taken up writing and poetry is something he immensely enjoys whether it’s reading, writing, discussing, speaking or analysing it.

Remote by Brian Robert Flynn

The most affecting crusade recalled
in waters rapid as our own embraced
a certain stillness, an immobile peace
promoted to rejoin the cosmic balance—
tottering the teeter, so to say, or acting
the counter—a real-life [PAUSE],
the blink of an eye in perfect control
[During such temps mort is when life is lived.
The optic nerve throbs. Dendrites electrify.
Dogs are walked. Pancakes get flipped. Actions
and memories linked to passion, to caring.]
if but for an instant so the shot could be had
before the blink un[PAUSE]d and the rising flood
continued pouring the day-to-day right over us.

Originally from Denver, Brian Robert Flynn is currently breathing the poetry and fiction of Washington, DC. His work has appeared in Banango Street, Epigraph, Litro Magazine, RiverLit, and theNewerYork. You can follow Brian on Twitter.

Microcosm by Gary Glauber

1.
Inexplicably, a giant hole opens up in Siberia.
Everyone in the world feels somehow responsible.
Ice caps are shrinking; oceans are rising.

2.
Global warming is not debatable.
This was the warmest June ever.
Yet my metabolism slowed.

3.
While no one pays attention,
we set out to destroy ourselves.
There is shame in our actions.
As we worry about pimples,
we accidentally burn down the house.

4.
The summer has turned tropical.
Wildfires attack certain states.
We get regular thunderstorm warnings.
My pets don’t understand the noise.
The earth rattles.

5.
We learn to compost,
We require recycling,
but is it too little and too late?
Time seems to be speeding up
along with the trivialization of existence.

6.
Farmers learn the concept of sangfroid.
Potable water will be the cause of future wars.
Human loneliness is a frightful noise.
And somehow we blame unions and teachers.

7.
Mountain rages replace ranges.
Innocent children try to escape the violence
and poverty of their native homes.
They come seeking freedom, and a bite to eat.

8.
The Middle East steams with turmoil,
destruction, and political unrest.
Unreasonable rulers seek to create
a new and more dangerous cold war.
Egos replace compassion. Again.

9.
Blood is spilled for senseless reasons.
We delude ourselves with sports and entertainment.
The stock market rises in spite of economic woes.

10.
Ants run frantically over to the site of a spill.
We suffer and scramble the same ways.
It seems we are no better, no wiser.

 
Gary Glauber is a poet, fiction writer, teacher, and former music journalist. His works have received multiple Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominations. In 2013, he took part in Found Poetry Review’s Pulitzer Remix Project. He champions the underdog to the melodic rhythms of obscure power pop. New work is forthcoming in 3 Elements Review, Fine Flu Journal, Brickplight, Stone Path Review, Stoneboat Journal, The Bicycle Review, Foliate Oak, Poetry Quarterly, and Think Journal. His collection, Small Consolations, is coming from The Aldrich Press in 2015.

The Word Seller by Soren James

“You wanna buy some words?” He said gruffly, encircled in a diverse fog of body odours.

“Yes“, I whispered

“You’ll have to speak louder” he said, “there’s cum in my ears.”

“What’s in your ears?” I said.

“Cum!” he shouted indignantly.

“I don’t know that word“, I said

“Have it, it’s a free sample.”

“How would I know what to do with it” I said

“You could do anything with it, it’s a handsome word, and you, sir, are in a special position to take advantage of it, as you don’t know what it means.” he enthused with a peddlers unctuousness.

“My not knowing what it means, means I won’t know where to put it.”

“You don’t know where to put cum?”, he said dryly.

“I’m reasonably skilled with words,” I said, “and yet I can’t know how to handle every one I come across.”

“Come on“, he said, “you really don’t know how to use cum?”

“No“, I said shyly

“I’ll show you”, he said, and leaned forward seeming to encourage intimacy. “Say, just for example, you had some pornographic material, the edges of which are a bit sticky, and together with this they are heavily fingered; then, you might say that the material was in a sticky-cum-fingered condition. That‘s how one might use cum, sir.”

“It seems like an extravagant word, I’m not sure I’ll come to use it.” I said

“I don’t wish to come over all enthusiastic about it,” he said, “ but I do feel the word will . . Er . . come into its own one day.”

“Come into it’s own what?” I asked.

“Come into it’s own context?”, he suggested.

“That would be a neat place for a word to come to.” I said, “But I have no need of words that I don’t know what they mean – you can keep your ‘come‘. I happen to be looking for a bigger word, one with more space in it.”

“Ah,” he said, “am I to take it that you are a connoisseur?”

“I enjoy the odd word,” I said, modestly.

“Very good, sir.” He said, “Then try this word for size, it’s just in, and I feel, as a discerning gentleman, you’re gonna like it. Are you ready for this one?”

“I’m ready.” I said.

Pausing briefly for effect, he said. . . “Comedogenic.”

“That sounds nice, I’ll take one.” I said.

“Excellent choice, sir.” He said, with a sycophantic drool.

“Have you got a meaning to go with that?” I enquired.

“Of course. Do you take me for a swindler?”

“I do”, I said.

“I shouldn’t have asked,” he said, “in my line of work people often mistrust me.” He shook his head feigning a gesture of remorse and continued, “Comedogenic – tending to cause blackheads by blocking the pores of the skin”

“That’s not quite the meaning I envisaged”, I said. “I thought it may have meant, ‘to emerge out of comedy,‘ or some such.”

He adopted a superior tone and began: “For something to emerge out of comedy, dear sir, would require . . . . “ He stopped for a second, then continued: “I’ve always sought to finish that sentence pithily, and yet, to date, I have failed every time. Anyhow, yes, the meaning does debase the word a little. But then, doesn’t meaning cheapen everything. . . But ignore me, I’m waxing philosophical.”

“Yes“, I said, “So . . Would you have a different meaning I could use with the word?”

He leant forward, turning a white glutinous-covered right ear toward me, whilst keeping his eyes upon mine, “Are you insinuating that I deal in false meanings of words?”

“Yes. I was told you were a peddler of aberrant words. Why, do you not?”

“I do, sir.” He admitted simply. “I merely enjoy showing indignance – it keeps me thin,” then grinned his set of brown teeth at me and continued, “I have a spare meaning for the word ‘connotation’ laying around. If you convince me to turn my back for a second, you could have that.”

“How much?” I whispered.

“Sorry, I didn’t hear that, could you . . . . “, his words faded into an indistinct mumble.

“Come again?”, I said.

“Yes.” He said, “ I’ll have to clean out my ears.”

Soren James is a writer and visual artist who recreates himself on a daily basis from the materials at his disposal, continuing to do so in upbeat manner until one day he will sumptuously throw his drained materials aside and resume stillness without asking why. More of his work can be seen here:http://sorenjames.moonfruit.com/home/4580917876