Oh Makers of These Concrete walls – Swapan Kumar Rakshit



Oh makers of these concrete walls


Myriads of concrete walls have been constructed by us——

To stop demands of the rivers, as well as, to stop their flow,

To subdue their spontaneous voices and to muffle the chorus.

But the makers of those walls don’t know their ways to go.

The rivers know well how to sustain lives on hot sand bed.

The rivers know well how to set their indomitable spirit free.

The rivers know how to rejuvenate the dead or the half-dead.

Because, they are aware of the cycle of seasons and the sea.

All social processes are like different rivulets, faithful in quest

For the unknown; so they care a cuss for the supremo of the land.

Though, their sweet and helpful touch know how to do the best,

Though, they know how to sustain lives on the hottest bed of sand.

Oh makers of the concrete walls! Don’t construct another wall.

It’ll stop our social processes and rivulets by making them dull.


© Swapan  Kumar Rakshit

Screams in God’s Pillow – Ian Bush




Screams in God’s Pillow


To God,

God, I have a friend that sells heroin to feed his daughter.

God, there are grown men and women who hang out all day at public parks,

Who stay there all day because there’s nowhere else to be.

The men talk about pussy and junk and drunk and drugs and fuck the police, and fuck the mayor, and fuck the senators, and fuck the governors, and fuck the president and vice president, and fuck the speaker of the house, and







While the women sit and smoke and smoke and smoke and watch the children.

God, we stand outside carry-outs in the cold, suck on tobacco sticks and bullshit,




And the thick stink of bud, chew, and booze jumps from tongues.

God, we watch from that same carry-out as drunk old booze hounds with cartoon smiles and big goofy

drunken eyes stumble through the parking lot with legs made of rubber.

They trip back out the glass door with a case of beer and a good mood.

God, I live around bars,




Bars that have beautiful neon signs that are big and gorgeous and blinding.

God, the bad music coming from the bars vibrates in a way that makes the skeletons of men and women sing to the same muffled distant hum



God, I live among fast food joints that are open until midnight,

Gas stations open until one,

Drug dealers don’t sleep until the sun comes up

Because early bird aching druggies and junkies come at twilight for fix, hit, bang, or bump.

God, I know a girl who was touched and bled and still bleeds

And still wears the same shame day after day after day after day.

God, I knew a girl that disappeared and popped back up as a dead body washed up from the river.

God, I have friends that live on the highway with the road kill and in flop houses with fat cockroaches and skin and bone addicts and hungry dogs who creep around hoping for scraps in trash cans.

God, I know children who are dirty, shirtless, shoeless, sockless,

Who run around on concrete all day long,

Who are raised by street litter, blacktop pavement, pebbles, day time television and bloody stubbed toes,

Who come back to their parents at night, hungry, with bleeding feet stuck with shards of glass.

God, the poor are fed up, some hungry, some high, some open knives and stare at bare knuckles and get pissed and scream.

Will you listen?

I’m screaming.

God, are you screaming?

Have you ever shut your bedroom door, flopped down on your bed and screamed into your pillow?


God, what do you think of Nick?

He stumbled into the apartment,



High on heroin,

No shirt,

Dirt covered pants,

Flip flops on his feet and track marks up his arms.

He cried about suicide, suicide, suicide, homicide, suicide, prison time, prison time, homicide, and his four homeless children, ran back out of the apartment, up the street, fell down, vomited down his chest and arms, got back up, found footing and rushed back up the street,

Across the street

Then vanished.

Can Nick find redemption?

God, I’m trying to speak to you directly.


God, I imagine that over all the world, the angels are crying.

I imagine they’re weeping over every empty belly and bowl of every hungry child.

God, I imagine the angels are cutting artery and vein, bleeding willingly, over the heads of every sad whore that walks the streets

Red eyed and high or hung over

Hoping that they’ll wake up the next day, sober, see the dry blood on their foreheads and howl



I imagine that over every little girl that sees a bottle of pills and is reminded of mother, they groan.

God, I imagine that above every sad man who stumbles home, high or drunk, sagging, haggard,

Dragging their feet on pavement with nothing more on their minds than sleep and the next night’s high, the angels scream the same scream that I scream.

God, I ask you again,

Are you screaming?


© Ian Bush

Ian Bush was born and raised in Portsmouth, Ohio, where he currently attends Shawnee State University, actively works on his poetry and hosts a regular poetry reading. His work mainly deals with life in poverty, particularly in Appalachia.

Hunger – Ian Bush


I know the concrete gray and curbs and the cracks and the scent of gasoline and the music of the automotive jazz band and its instrument’s glowing eyes. I see the fucking bum. I smell the fucking bum. I am the fucking bum. I hold the fucking sign that reads, “FUCKING STARVING.” Lord, the flesh is weak and the spirit is tired. I know the scent of rain and the taste of thirst and I know Hunger like God and I know God like I know Hunger.


© Ian Bush

Ian Bush was born and raised in Portsmouth, Ohio, where he currently attends Shawnee State University, actively works on his poetry and hosts a regular poetry reading. His work mainly deals with life in poverty, particularly in Appalachia.

How is the Weather Up There Mr. Sartre? – Ryan Quinn Flanagan



How is the Weather Up There Mr. Sartre?


Resident meteorologist, prisoner of war,

writing Christmas dramas and reading Heidegger

in confinement, later released as a civilian

and sent to teach in Vichy occupied France,

replacing a Jew, how good of the Germans to do that

and not censor any of your work, that was a swell thing

to do in not so swell times, and how you would be labelled

later as complicit when the Germans seemed to know

what Camus knew: that you were a writer who resisted;

not a resister who wrote…and it is those tiny details

that can keep a man alive and able to see Modern

Times, to become a Marxist who refuses the Party

and later the teachings of Marx himself as fallacious;

anti-colonial, twice bombed and once arrested,

resident chain smoker in a frenzy of blindness,

the simple man in all things must live the

simple man and by no others means would

he live.


© Ryan Quinn Flanagan


Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a Canadian-born author residing in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with his wife and many bears that rifle through his garbage.  His work can be found both in print and online in such places as: Evergreen Review, The New York Quarterly, Outlaw Poetry Network, In Between Hangovers, Red Fez, and Creative Talents Unleashed.

I Will Be Your Country – James Stansberry





I Will Be Your Country
‘for Daniel’
Bring back your hands  that you think
are too big, to unfeminine for who you want to be
and your shoulders, and wear the peasant blouse
I will buy for you, the strapless dress, the girly tee shirt
and yes, let me once again be awed by how your
height and mine make us a kind of ‘odd couple’
take my breath away at how you look like a model
how your legs make me think of Athena or Artemis
hunting with her wolves, and yes, I will find jasmine oil
and wash your feet with  my dreadlocks, soothe them
after all of the roads you’ve traveled, being the boy
hold you like a present from Heaven, because yes
you are that, to me
                                  so come back
                                        dear friend, and
let’s continue the conversation
talk more of love, become lovers, but slowly, so
this sweetness will last
bring me, Penelope,your travel stories, my Ulysses
                                                               (though truly, you are more Diana)
bring me mountains,lakes, how the sun looked in Paris
Iceland, Austria, Germany, Italy, on that rough trail
where you blogged that your hands left blood
as you went on, over those Alps, as if you needed to
                                                                              earn the right to be you
bring me that you, the one I fell in love with, on Valentine’s Day past
you in that confection of a dress, or you in open shirted youthful defiance
of those folks in the bar you told me about, who could not see you
as I do, so beautiful my mouth cannot speak when we’re together
and let me comb fingers through your hair, touch mouth to your mouth
come take my breath, my soul, my hunger
fill up all the hours I’ve waited for your laughter
let me be the country you come home to
and stay a while.
© James Stansberry

Listening to Lawrence of Newark After Paris – Marianne Szlyk



Listening to Lawrence of Newark After Paris

An African-American man in a keffiyeh
is still dangerous to the powers that be.
But these powers are even more dangerous
to Newark and other places
as they flood, freeze,
or crumble to desert,
wind scouring hillsides
and dried stream beds
far from acidic oceans
and taps running
leaded water
infused with prescription medicine
and traces of the coal
that will make America
great again

© Marianne Szlyk

Showing a Documentary on Vietnam to a 10th Grade Class – Don Kingfisher Campbell




Showing a Documentary on Vietnam to a 10th Grade Class

Machine gun rotates as it fires

Teens talk not facing the screen

Bombs drop from crossing B-52

Girl looks into compact, brushes lashes

Plane falls, fireball on the ground

Boy pages through sports magazine

Diplomats chopstick seven course meal

Another boy intently plays a cell phone game

College student holds up protest sign

Another girl stares into iPod connected to her ears

Throngs cheer at a political rally

A couple boys actually watch the video

Tearful refugee describes the loss of her family

Substitute teacher finishes poem


© Don Kingfisher Campbell

Don Kingfisher Campbell, MFA from Antioch University, Los Angeles, has recently been published in Brave New Word #6, Beneath the Rainbow, Highland Park Poetry: The Muses Gallery, Metaphor Issue 7, amomancies, Altadena Poetry Review, Terrene, Poet’s Calendar: A Poetry Matters Anthology, and Escapism Magazine.

The Hyper-Reals Keep Morphing My Original Face  – Sudeep Adhikari




The Hyper-Reals Keep Morphing My Original Face 


The yellow of unearthing machines,

headbanging in participation mystique

with the giant clusterfuck

of a dehydrated city. Hydrogen bombs


like explosion of airy deserts, mixes

seamlessly  with sewers

of my rubber-black viscous fetishes.


What time is it? It is either exactly

life o’clock,  or lose the grip

on make-believes of

your comforting hyper-realities.


It is not the dreams, or the money,

or the flesh that keep us going

on  never-ending  loops

of bigger and more.  Maybe we just

don’t  care to think,

may be there is nothing there to think.


Or may be dying everyday is too hard

if we don’t reboot ourselves

each moment, to see the world

as a Baudrillard sort of dream-machine.


Scratches, noise, glitches, carbon droplets

Post-digital, post-ethical

Post-absurd, post-pop.

Too many copies. Too many drones.

Too many roads

to get lost in the pixels of cocaine nothings.


And I will keep trying to remember

my original face, the one I had before the

matrix  bugged me

through my self-made plastic scars.


Sudeep Adhikari is a structural engineer/Lecturer  from Kathmandu, Nepal.   His recent publications were with  Jawline Review, Anti-Heroin Chic, Yellow Mama, Fauna Quarterly, Beatnik Cowboys, After The Pause, Poetry Pacific, Silver Birch Press, Underground Books and Outlaw Poetry.

Suckered – Devon Balwit





The things that come out of you—an infant, a wild hair—

you feel suckered by sleight of hand, coin snuck


behind your ear while you glanced elsewhere. Before

you know it, the labels stick; you’re forever riding


your high horse back into someone else’s barn. Try

being yourself all day. It can’t be done. You’ll retail


some Facebook meme as gospel truth, the latest urban

legend, and you’ll notice in the mirror the hinged jaw


of a ventriloquist’s dummy. Tomorrow is a new day

in which to fall short once again. Make your newest


shame your status and tally likes. Enough, and it feels

oddly like victory. Alcohol’s your only slicker


against daily squalls, character flipped inside out

like a cheap umbrella. Don’t be sad. You’re in good


company, all of us with necks cranked back watching

the rockets burst, retinas echoing shadow-flare.


Bio: Devon Balwit is a writer/teacher from Portland, OR. Her poems of protest have appeared in The New Verse News, Poets Reading the News, Redbird Weekly Reads, Rise-Up Review, Rat’s Ass Review, The Rising Phoenix Review, Mobius, What Rough Beast, and more.

Day in The Life of a Loaded Gun – Winston Plowes

Day in The Life of a Loaded Gun
Youths –

Winston Plowes lives aboard his floating home in Calderdale with his lucky black cat, Fatty. He teaches creative writing and was Poet in Residence for The Hebden Bridge Arts Festival 2012-14. His collection of surrealist poetry Telephones, Love Hearts & Jellyfish, Electric Press was published in 2016.