On A November Night

From deep in the woods
we hear the harrowed shrieks
of females resisting.
Not rape
but foxes

The human female’s assault
is covered by a pact of silence.
We can’t be certain.
But foxes.

In the dark shadows
of a park at night, words
fall softer than leaves. A
hush smothers the Sunday
school heart. Who says
a whisper is not intimidating.
Who stands above the fear
of hidden sounds.

We hold our breath
and count backwards.
Girls groped by the question
posed as secret underthings.

Read more "POETRY: ALINA STEFANESCU – On A November Night"


Yellow Brick Road

As I jabbed
the man across
from me
in the face, I feel
his soul and ego
enter my fists.
They’re becoming heavy,
I’ve broken so many
noses, hurt too many
people. I’ve changed
my ways, but do
people really change?
My heart feels like
glass, light and
fragile. Being in
denial that
I hate myself.
I fight like Tyson:
close and vicious, the
same in bed. My
poetry is beautiful
but my sex
never killed a human.
My hands are
heavier than a
cinder block in a
graveyard full of people’s
hopes and dreams;
I want someone to love
me, hug me, kiss me, cuddle me.
She’ll loosen the weight
of my death machines,
and turn the glass in
my chest to flesh.

Check out AJ’s website.

Read more "POETRY: YELLOW BRICK ROAD – AJ Gutierrez"


Crazy Hot



During this summer, bales of hay explode,

crops scorch, livestock are slaughtered early.


We shuffle through grocery stores.  Limp

lettuce, mushy tomatoes languish on counters.


Prices rise inexorably when we drive to

gas stations where fumes fill our nostrils.


My throat is dry and coated with metallic taste.

I guzzle a bottle of ice tea, saccharine sweet.


Our town park floods with children spilling over

brown grass, their shouts cutting the air.


Laundry comes out piping hot from

the dryer, zippers burning my fingers.


Clumps of wrinkled clothes wobble on chairs.

Unopened mail and dust cover my table.


A rayon nightgown sticks to my skin as

fans push warm air brushing my face.


The shrill of cicadas drown the night.

I wait now to melt into dark oblivion.





mom has 2 Masters’ degrees and a Ph.D. and her
husband does too

they are alumni of the same university as me

and when i was there as a student she said

“Steven and I put $5 bills in our doctoral
theses at the university library so we’ll know
if anyone’s read them!”
i went to the library, found their
theses, and took
the fivers
a few weeks later she was on campus again
she was all smiles
“Somebody read my thesis!” she squealed,
“and Steven’s, too! We put another $5 in them!”
i went to the library, found their
theses, and took
the fivers
it worked 2 more times before they switched to $1 bills
i took those, too
they were satisfied that their scholarly
efforts were appreciated
i had money for drugs
everyone was happy


Review of Lost on My Own Street by Tim Staley (Pski’s Porch, 2016)

Review by Kyle Flak

The exciting thing about small press poetry is that anything is possible.  There are no strict rules.  The artist is completely free to do as he or she likes without worrying about what the big mainstream institutions will think.

Tim Staley has for years been the editor of Grandma Moses Press in Las Cruces, New Mexico.  For five dollars, a customer can receive by mail a tiny delightful chapbook of unique and wild poetry accompanied by weird and wonderful drawings by the editor.  The chapbooks, of course, never hit the New York Times bestseller list or get the attention of major superstars, but they always contain good honest poetry–poetry written by people who honestly love poetry for its own sake.

Now Tim Staley has his own full length collection of poems out from an equally exciting small press publisher, Pski’s Porch.  As someone who loves all aspects of books, I will say that Lost on My Own Street by Tim Staley is a beautiful book in every way.

First of all, the cover art was done by the author himself and it is a whimsical sea blue dream of a cover, clearly illustrating the true joy of being a small press poet.  The image is of a jolly dandy of a man strolling down the street with a marvelous cloud of daydreams floating above his head.

Of course this book reminds me of the first edition of Leaves of Grass, a volume of poems that Walt Whitman self published and aggressively self promoted all because he believed in the dream, the dream of saying what he really needed to say, the dream of sharing his most important messages to the world.  It seems that no matter what anyone personally thinks of Walt Whitman, he will always be The Original Small Press Poet.

Staley’s poems are sincere, funny, friendly, unique, and diverse.  He does not stick to a single formula, scheme, or gimmick.  He writes what he wants to write.  He has no ulterior motives.  He is not thinking about what the authorities will say about him.  He is someone I am happy to place on my list of New Walt Whitmans to Definitely Pay Attention to Who Boldly Go Wherever They Want to Go.

In a poem called “The Waiting Game” Staley writes, “Vikings never ask are we there yet, / they just scan the horizon, armored hips against the railing.”  I think that sums up his poetry and the joy of being a small press poet pretty well.  In the world of small press poetry, one writes purely for the joy of writing without asking for approval or money or fame.  One writes for the thrill of it, the exploration of it, the pure adventure of it.

It is in this spirit that I highly recommend Lost on My Own Street by Tim Staley.  It reminds us all of what’s truly important–that original “carpe diem” thrill of just reading and writing poems for the fun of it.

Kyle Flak’s debut poetry collection I’M SORRY FOR EVERYTHING IN THE WHOLE ENTIRE UNIVERSE is forthcoming from Gold Wake Press.




we planted flowers
we planted flowers in the garden bed
they’re already coming up
too late for spring,
just in time to be wilted by summer heat
when we planted flowers it all seemed so real
like seeing them grow was inevitable
and now,
I’m here
and they’re growing
and I can’t figure out why you’re not
you’re like the bees
you buzz in and out
I feel like I need you
or I’ll wither
but maybe you’ve already
done for me what I could not do for myself
and now I must bloom
and die back again
and take this energy and store it up
because i’m using too much
chasing you around
stuck rooted here
turning toward the sun and asking
where’s that bee?
and he won’t answer me back
he just shines on,
slowly creeping west to avoid the answer
great, more avoidance
more pain
if only someone would come and snap me up
put me in a bouquet
where I could shine as part of a whole
and then wilt
having brought joy to someone else temporarily
but I remain