MICHAEL LEE JOHNSON – VODKA OMELET

Vodka Omelet
 
Make it clear in my mind, Jesus,
am I whacked-out on Double Cross Vodka
or have I flipped out calling myself
Limburger omelet chef?
I hate question marks and angels
with crazed wings.
You know the type, John the Baptist
toking weed, stoned out of his mind, storyteller,
foul smells from poor hygiene, eating habits
open mouth, swallowing grasshoppers,
so silky, smooth as sweet honey.
Add 3 eggs in a skillet, Parmesan/Romano blend,
2 cheeses add-on, shiitake mushrooms, turmeric,
chopped kale, hint hot chili peppers, cheers.
Scramble me, I’m cracked.
I rock faith in jungle music, dance nude.
Everything is a potential poem to me.
My omelette, my life, my booze, master cook,
vodka
omelet
2:38 a.m.
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JOHN TUSTIN – 2 POEMS

DRUNK AND HELPLESS IN THE DARK
 
Some of us lie
Drunk and helpless in the dark
Waiting for the angel that never comes
Because there is no her
Beyond the sad spiraling reveries
Of the drunken insomniac
Smiling wanly in the glow
Of a halo
That exists only
In his
Fevered
Imagination




HUMANITY IS DOOMED
 
I heard the birds that chirp at night
And I saw the cats under the tree.
I know the cats need to eat
And I know the birds want to live.
 
So here I am
In the parking lot of a Walgreens,
Rooting for nothing.
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JON HUERTA and TIM STALEY -POETRY INSTRUCTION BATTLE – HOW TO WRITE ABOUT A SPECIFIC PERSON

POET STALEY’S TOP 10 RULES FOR WRITING ABOUT A SPECIFIC PERSON

1
allow yourself to acknowledge that you care about someone
then sweep that someone out of your mind
and onto the pages of your journal

2
dump the dust pan of that person
as fearlessly, honestly and quickly as you can

3
surround that person with the concrete nouns
that person surrounds themselves with
then deliberately inject action verbs
or slip them in when no one’s looking

4
keep writing everything you can about that person
not worrying about the direction your writing is going,
try rhyming about that person,
try listing things about that person,
try moving that person around in time,
try writing from that person’s point of view

5
describe the person as though you’re describing the details of a photo

6
let your journal pages marinate overnight in the refrigerator or at room temp

7
cut away all the lame stuff
cut away all the stuff that doesn’t deeply satisfy your aesthetic
cut away the stuff you put in there just for the teacher
cut away anything you’ve heard or read before

8
replace boring verbs with better ones
cut away all the fake words
sprinkle in literary devices until a poem appears
(if no poem appears repeat steps 1-5)

9
break your lines. make it look like a poem. not a paragraph.

10
proofread and read out loud and tweak and fix and submit

~~~

Huerta’s rules about writing about people you know and people you don’t

1.  Conversations about a past event will entice the reader to forge ahead.

2.  Objects around the poems location bring realism to your story and will build a bond between you and the reader. Common household products and animals, for instance, are worthy objects. Politics and trauma are questionable. 

3.  Never write about your feelings or love loss. You’re better than this and no one cares.

4.  If writer's block is something you are suffering from, try your hardest to live in the present with an unapologetic eye for your surroundings. Read the room, write it down. Repeat.

5.  Creating a mad lib style game will force your imagination. Pick up the daily paper and create a story using the police blotter and your comrades. 

6.  Always mix imagination with reality. Because the best shit happens when the fresh river meets the salty sea. Where the tears from your fears clash with consciousness to create a story worthy of telling again and most importantly for someone else to repeat it.
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RICKY WINTERS – 3 POEMS

“ghost”
    
my disguise is my only friend but at times it stabs me in the back too




“caraphernelia”


this portrait of beauty still remains upon my eyes 
the soft colors that dance around my sorrow and mock the ache in my chest
the blinding lights of the heart you have broken and carved out have dimmed their glow to an absolute fog
they too have fallen into the pits of regret and anguish 
just as I 




“damien”


‪his eyes were clouds and the rain never stopped

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ANDREW HUBBARD – Priorities

Priorities

Reincarnation.
One of those things
I’d like to believe in but can’t
Because of the logical improbability
And the pile of unanswerable questions
About who and when and how and why.

But just suppose
(It’s ok to have a little fun)
That after 200 years of conscious sleep
Some benign authority
Brought you back, age 20
In perfect health, memories intact.

What would you do first?
Eat! Steak—shrimp—
Something with creamy garlic sauce—
Strawberries—chocolate ice cream.

And then make love
Again and again and again, with every sense
On overdrive, and doze off
Smelling her sweat and hearing her whispers.

You’d almost forgotten
How sensuous sleep can be.

Wake up. Repeat,
But with a change of menu:
Coffee, hot eggs with cheese melted over,
Cold white wine, bacon,
Peaches and whipped cream.

Continue this for forty years
Then turn your attention
To intellectual growth and refinement.
Sit with works of Plato, Milton,
Kant, Chaucer, and St. Augustine.
Twenty minutes should do it.
Then get back to the important stuff.

JULY 2020

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JOHN TUSTIN – CUT OFF

CUT OFF

I used to rush home from work,

Especially if I knew my wife wasn’t going to be home yet

And if some asshole tried to cut me off

I’d gun it and curse him out,

Sometimes as we drove side by side.

I wasn’t going to take that shit,

I got cut off enough when I was home with my wife.

I would drive home and the best days were the days

When I had some time to myself before I had to pick her up.

Oh, the feeling of false freedom in those precious minutes!

Later, another good time was reading to my children before bed.

After they would finally fall asleep I would lie in bed with my son

And elongate the moments before I would have to get up

And get into bed with Her.

If I fell asleep in his bed or pretended to she would come and get me.

Finally I had had enough and I told her I wanted a divorce.

Her reaction was to unleash Hell all at once

Instead of little by little like she had been doing for fifteen years or so.

I lost everything and just about everyone I had

But now if I get cut off in traffic

I just stare in wonder at the taillights

Of whoever feels they need to get somewhere before I do

Thinking about a time that feels like decades ago

But was much less than that

When I decided a life of boiling pasta alone in an echoing kitchen

Was better than a living death in a house filled with anger

And that final day that

It was as if I was Yertle the Turtle

And I sneezed down there

At the bottom of the stack

And that bitch came tumbling down.

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MARC CARVER – CURTAIN TWITCHERS

CURTAIN TWITCHERS
As I run the day to begin it
the sun comes up and I want to get out before anybody sees me and sees I have used up my quota for the day.
I think I can go out the front way once and out the back way the other time and no one will see me. Maybe I can sneak out two or three times in a day before all the curtain twitchers see me.
It is only a matter of time before the have a hot line.
I saw him going out again twice yesterday and three times on Monday.
People

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John Dorroh – “It’s Probably More Than Colitis”

It’s Probably More Than Colitis”

I like a woman with a clean colon,

the way she starts telling stories

at the end

and works back toward the beginning,

expecting me to connect all the dots.

She takes her temperature every hour,

tells me the results, wants for me

to tie a knot with my swollen tongue

in her cherry

stem. The french kiss should have been

the second best clue

that we wouldn’t click, at least not like that.

I can cuddle like a fish with the best of them,

but sometimes we have to be satisfied

with a flag at half mast. You can always

use tulips to brighten the

room. We fidget in the clinic for an hour

before they call her name.

She refuses my hand, gives me an orange-lipped

piranha smile, and disappears into the

blue-white light.

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JOHN GREY – 2 POEMS

THE TRUNK

I nudge aside some old poems

to get at the real poetry:

love letters from a former flame.

I’ve no idea why I’ve kept them

only that I’m a hoarder,

even of affection.

 

There’s something of nostalgia

to them,

like the Marvel comics

in very good condition,

or the copy of Sports Illustrated

with Larry Bird on the cover,

celebrating a championship.

 

The writing is neat,

the passion likewise,

nothing, I’m sure,

like the long-trashed missives

I sent in response.

Reading between lines is called for.

But, to be honest,

I find more neatness,

only it’s invisible.

 

From memory,

there was no great passion

between the two of us.

It’s what comes of listening to Yes together.

And decking ourselves out

in bell-bottoms.

But they’re part of history.

And, to my mind,

must be preserved.

 

But I throw in a few

more useless items,

bury those letters deeper

going forward.

It’s enough to know they’re there.

No place else would have them.

 

~

 

THE CIGARETTE LONG AFTER

A double downer:

I feel dirty as soot,

sheets smell like dumpster fires.

 

And here,

on a motel side table,

one cigarette burns a long, neglected ash.

No need to smoke it.

 

This room’s like a cigarette

with me cocooned inside it.

You and I shared this roadside hideaway.

Years ago.

Before there were flat-screen TV’s.

Before there was flat anything.

 

Now I lie on a lumpy mattress.

staring up at the nicotine-stained ceiling.

 

My teeth grind the grit

of what was once desire.

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