Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Poems By Jeff Bagato

Poems by Jeff Bagato

America’s Porn Star Love

down below heroes
lie the gods of good American mind,
dolly and doll boy of the video revolution
pumped and plasticized for day
dream constitution—you have
the right to your own hand—
at last thinking freedom has come,
but it’s only the mind-blown,
peter soft rent-a-box salvation
coursing thick thru American
veins like a gallon of white
paint in a money shot xtravaganza—
all over the tits and the walls—
never use a squirt when
a flood will do—heavier
love pretends inspiration arriving
in a naked eye; who does
the looking?
                     It’s the frozen
eyes of fear staring thru thick
glasses hoping to keep passions
contained to the screen & remote,
on/off knobs joy ride fast forward—
pause—look closer—we’re just now
going to come—when it’s all over
we can go back to living
deep in the superego duck blind,
the hunter gathering new
ammo for his next load

Life on the River, Ripened on the Vine

Mowgli sits on Baloo’s chest down
the river, smoking hash in a
turf brown water pipe;
“Pass the tube, please,” dreams
the bear as they drift by an
old guy with his thumb out,
nursing a cigar and shriveled
like a pitted prune—if you
are what you eat, they can’t
be that good for your digestion—
and the guy says, “Soup
at the All American, yes
boys, good boys”—
the river patiently pulling at Baloo’s
nuts before he realizes this is that part
of the Amazon infested
with pirahna; he sticks drainage
pipe from the bong below the surface,
and stones every water mite within
three miles in an inky cloud like a great white
octopus from the bowel of Satan—
bleaching the rocks, and
even his fur got blond—
“That’s all I need,” the bear laughs,
“to look like the president
of the United States of America!”—
white people now cheering
from the banks like bees around
fungus, each man seeing a
metaphor for his own fight up the stream,
each blow a good one struck for him
in his struggle, each footstep
made for his glory, that greater good,
linking hands across tribulation, one
long bridge of humanity kissing
ass like a leech—Baloo bellows
“I can feel ‘em from here”—
their words like white
petals falling from purling
lips, an ogre’s maggots fountaining
down on the pair—
“take the stage at your own risk
and walk swiftly lest
they pull the

Ouija at the Feast

Ouija dons her rags
and enters the illusion—
false colors, false waters,
blind corridors secured
with wire and video eyes,
where clumping slime prays to angels
for a dungball feast laid out so pretty
to feed the masquerade,
all the dancers pushing forward
to grab their share of an everlasting meal,
and so the fantasy begins:

“Once upon a diamond”
(Ouija writes) “we had plenty
and we made it scarce
hiding it in vaults of desire
and put price tags on the beauty of flowers
and took water and air out of circulation,
and so utopia was paved
for magic cars and magic beans
and the magic toys all dumped
from a sack like everyday is Christmas—
No bricks made those walls,
but they stand firm
as long as they remain invisible”

Ouija leaps into the punch
bowl, splashing fruit juice
on the monkeys and the mimes
who riot and wreck
the feast table to the ground
before running into the night
screaming for rain

and winds and destruction

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Works By William C. Blome

William C. Blome writes poetry and short fiction. He lives wedged between Baltimore and Washington, DC, and he is a master’s degree graduate of the Johns Hopkins University Writing Seminars. His work has previously seen the light of day in such fine little mags as Poetry London, PRISM International, In Between Hangovers, Fiction Southeast, Roanoke Review, and The California Quarterly.

You paint the way you have to in order to give. That’s life itself, and someone will look and say it is the product of knowing, but it has nothing to do with knowing, it has to do with giving.
               Franz Kline
There’s a blackened Japanese gardener outside thrusting plants into passerby hands, and a formal (carrying a tray out in front of him, dressed in crisp livery, eyebrows raised, both arms extended), blackened Japanese waiter doling cocktails to the right and to the left indoors while moving, moving, moving, and though neither person is allowed to hoist their red-dot flag in morning atmosphere, both men are discernible now to the degree they reflect the giving-up light of a Sunday evening. If you’re willing to give things an extra squint or two, you can see yourself in the slanted, half-length mirror someone props on a leather hassock and leans against a spiky cane chair. Please set aside, if you will, watching the dusky Japanese, and come on over: stand next to the mirror and wave an arm at several speeds. Thrust out a leg and stiffen it and hold it in place a moment; cup your right tit from underneath, and fluff and plump and pinch just above the little tattoo: oh yeah, that’s you alright, all of that’s you.


Tea the color of scotch,
Ink the color of peacock,
Menstrual blood the hue of coral,
Begonias the hue of underarms,
Eggshells the shade of a fingernail,
Redwood trees the shade of all timber.


He wondered just how long he could hold the big girl prisoner below decks, the Mexican girl who was so naturally opposite a shrimp prisoner, a pipsqueak prisoner, a dwarf-and-stunted plankton prisoner. As he had often done before, he made the whole world topside hugely shrink by keeping his eyes fixed and peering through the large-lens end of his binoculars; oh he adored these expensive German mothers, and he slept with them at night out-of-case and under his pillow. However, in the spirit of one who frequently sighs all fine things must end, he set the heavy field glasses down and grabbed an out-of-breath gulp of ice and ouzo and rough-reckoned he’d been at his lenses for one-and-nearly-another hour: yes, certainly, that was the kind of unbroken span that proxied for his quitting the liquor now, for ruling out any more gulps of the gray Greek milk in front of his person, and for pretending his tumbler had become too fiery hot to hold; and for believing the big girl prisoner might now-and-again and at any time go microscopic on his ass. However, he clutched the confidence that from here on out, he’d be able to jump in and start swimming the lacey kind of pattern he loved to high, high heaven, and he judged the effort would be more than enough to take him in-between the islands that were somewhat close to the boat, and close to one another.


Trying patiently to tie the knots
I know a good mariner will someday need,
the process can’t stop me from dangling my practice twine
high, high above your breasts and then letting it fall
like your husband’s thumbs into all that sticky cleavage.

Now the town carillon’s been wired just recently
to chime whenever you turn the blender on
during the late afternoon (yeah, it’s no lie:
Andrew and I hooked some shit up two days ago,
and when we tested it out yesterday,
goddamn if the bells didn’t begin banging
while your blender whirled away), so I imagine
you might want to limit the p.m. pina coladas.

Now Andrew and I are dying to tie a tracking device
around one of your husband’s arms,
and we can’t thank you enough for giving us permission
to drop an Anchor Hitch over his bicep. See,
we’ve got this slick electronic locator Andrew made
that’ll ring like someone’s sticking doorbell
whenever hubby pads out of your daybed chamber
and goes to take a leak. It’s then and there
I want to do him harm (while he sleepily stands
and moves his stream around the toilet bowl),
but suddenly-holier-than-thou Andrew balks
at our directly enabling physical pain or at rendering
further (though critical) assistance, and I swore to myself
just the other day I’d never ask you to heft yourself up
and off the daybed naugahyde and go into the can
during a time like that and try and help us out.


Watching the shirtless old man with big muscles move raspberries about a scarlet plate as if they were moody kids of unwilling slaves; seeing him push them one by one with a butter knife across the bright diameter and rim till each fell through the little air between wooden table and wooden floor; I think it was the fourth or fifth that hit the hardwood with stellar force and kept right on dropping to your basement bed. While it became almost impossible for me to bump aside the strongman—he just too easily sent me sprawling as I kept trying to peer down through punched-in floorboards at the solo raspberry on your blanket of a coincidentally similar hue—oh, I was persistent, baby, I was persistent, I tried and tried and did manage a glimpse or two, though my looking down gave the bruiser more than the time he needed to reseat himself across from me at table, spread a fine linen napkin between his bare legs for modesty, and then leverage his butter knife such that he started flicking berries off my neck and chest—one plus one plus one quickly ran to many—till (thank goodness) there was soon no more ammunition of the kind he was using to be found on his plate, to be found on the table, or to be found anywhere else inside your house.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Poetry By Richard D. Houff

Richard D. Houff was the editor of Heeltap Magazine and Pariah Press from 1986 to 2010. He has had poetry and prose published in Aldebaran, Brooklyn Review, Chiron Review, Louisiana Review, Midwest Quarterly, North American Review, Rattle, and many other fine magazines. His most recent collections are Night Watch and Other Hometown Favorites, from Black Cat Moon Press, The Wonderful Farm and Other Gone Poems, from FlutterPress, and Adventures In Space and Other Selected Casualties, from Alien Buddha Press.

Poor Richard’s Horrifying Life: Part 3

Taking a direct hit
to the head from a half-full
beer can thrown from a 47 Plymouth
pickup was my first brush with death

Stealing pop bottles from
“The Cottage Inn” a roadhouse
on the outskirts of town, resulted
in a shotgun blast to the ass—
this was my second brush with death

The hubcap business ended on a sour note
after meeting the three-legged junkyard dog,
off his leash and lightning fast—
this would be my third brush with death

By the age of ten, I had adopted the three strike
baseball philosophy to most disagreeable
situations, and after having had three close calls,
I decided to retire back into doing absolutely nothing

A seven year run without too many issues
proved to be a good batting average, but the
Mickey Mantle mentality came to an abrupt halt
when the casualty reports from Viet Nam
became more than local news

Dead Flowers

Hidden from windswept fields
and choosing to walk forest paths

he groans against
the cancerous growth of night

And there is no comfort here

Curling fetal and closing his eyes
over a blanket of wet leaves

he listens for ghosts
near a cluster of saplings

The mid-summer earth is hot
and unforgiving

He places a piece of bread
in his mouth and chews slowly

Hunger is a cruel forecast
but the big city can be a far worse
reward for runaway children

and those who would embrace
with open arms

Outside The Kennesaw Hotel
Minneapolis, Minnesota Ca. 1968 (Summer)

Everything is in hyper-mode:
heat altering heads under cruel
and tattered awnings

Concrete, asphalt and black tar mix,
create a Mississippi Delta affect
heading crazy fast toward noon

On our block, tempers flare unspeakable
and Leon carries a gun tucked under
his shirt; tails hanging easy

I’m just a punk kid walking down
West 15th St. counting window fans,
paying close attention to a new model

My room could use air flow;
maybe Leon could get me one

For now, we’ll visit the park
and find a shade tree to kill some time,
smoke a few numbers and relax

Leon is my friend,
he’s older and wiser

Leon is my friend,
and I’m scared shitless of him

Fresh Sheets

Here we have a mega-capsule
Of fossilized bureaucrats

The planners of urban renewal
Going nowhere

Humorless terrorists hard at work
Incorporating the world

With genuine manifestations
Of complete nothingness

And so we trip along
Over glass shard paths
Strewn with false securities

Poor Richard and a few followers
Smell something fishy and choose
The detour route

Past boarded-up homes and storefronts
United hand in hand
Skipping toward the madhouse

Where piped-in music beckons
As a fruitful solution to all of the above