Hollow by MH Clay


Heel crunch echoes
Off barren floor
Ahead, an openness
No terror lurking
No latent plague
All alive
So much space
For so much grace
And generosity
A gift of possibility
Holding hope
Only unaccompanied
Soon to be joined
When soft
And warmly welcome
Sweet with solace
A voice behind

“It’s okay,
It’s all right!”

And hollow is full


MH Clay lives and works in Dallas, Texas. His poetry chapbook, Perhaps This Rain, was
published in 2007 with a second edition released in 2010. He has a poetry page at
MadSwirl.com. His poetry collection, sonoffred, was published by Rebel Poetry in
Ireland in March of 2015.

arriving by Stephen House


crawling on beach rocks bare knees grazing blood
no other reason but perceiving approaching panic
as whining dog watches baby cry spit and mother
lights one cigarette off another halleluiah shouts no

stop lights flash red to green and bang back yellow
then freeze as i’m amused by drivers confusion more
than what this musters in our present isolated struggle
with my own seeking need for newly exaggerated zilch

a thin drawn couple i had by pull down tin shutter
swear and fight gabble faces curled lips tight white
grasping wrist as my second-hand coat mirrors poverty
i wonder to motivate care help their toil but maybe not

he said don’t post collected explicit you know your past
stinks of what others gape only in movies and i say back
i’m not crouching on fuck lies for god’s sake i never hid
sex drugs creative slide as everyone waiting knew my all

so hoarding junk is reason enough for fearful apathy
to ride my ageing distance of self-grown answers wanting
not found in vending machines that bubble from dreams
i don’t know anyone’s names so call them all whatever

the best thing happening in my failing is being dropped
by mean clutch of old friend as he wrote rules of need
yawning on tablets of bile not living up loyal be is dead
stacked in box accountable was only tally screaming go

as summarising at crossing roadway gives knowledge blind
consumed by greedy seekers of look here comes another one
staring in cracks as cruisers suck pop music sensation need
and i just cry relief finally arriving at what i never was


Stephen House has won many awards as a poet, playwright and actor. He’s received
several international literature residencies from The Australia Council. His chapbook
“real and unreal” was published by ICOE Press. His next book is out soon. His poetry is
published often and performs his acclaimed monologues widely.

“arriving” was originally published by Former People USA / experimental-experimental-literature USA

AT THE BARBERSHOP by Robert Demaree


The bus station used to be there,
Where that bank is now,
At one end the barbershop
We went to, my dad and I,
In his last years,
On afternoons late with August regret,
Witch hazel, diesel fuel
Mingling in the foyer,
Our outings, our time together,
Brief respite for my mother.
He could still feign conversation then.
Mr. Melton nodded gently as he
Trimmed an apron of gray.
I heard talk that seemed to be of baseball,
Or a sudden expletive, not deleted,
In a voice that sounded angry but was not.
The bus station was torn down,
My father died,
Mr. Melton found another shop across town.
I still went to him some,
Even after his hands began to shake.

Robert Demaree is the author of four book-length collections of poems, including Other
Ladders, published in 2017 by Beech River Books. He is a retired school administrator
with ties to North Carolina, Pennsylvania and New Hampshire, where he lives four
months of the year.

During the Meiji Restoration by Mark Young

During the Meiji Restoration

Outlet channels &
methods of de-
livery. He has to
change them. His
cardiac silhouette—
cut from a sheet of
synthetic resinous
material abandoned
when Chanel quit
its flagship spot in
central Osaka late
last year—has become
démodé. Respectful
railroad employees
still trim the edges;
but the ultra-trendy
baby boutiques that
filled the nearby
streets have either
closed or trans-
formed to “nothing
over ¥500″ thrift
stores. Billboards
loom blankly above
the few pedestrians
that remain. Some-
times a delicate, girly
database packed
full of free online
dressup games is the
only thing that can
shift the modern novel
in its focus & tone to
remake it as a conduit
for delivering anti-
oxidants to the skin.

Mark Young’s first published poetry appeared over sixty-two years ago. Much more recent work has appeared, or is to appear, in The Sparrow’s Trombone, Scud, Ygdrasil, Mobius, SurVision, NAUSEATED DRIVE, & Word For/Word.

The Devil’s Coffee in a Cold Styrofoam Cup by Ryan Quinn Flanagan

The Devil’s Coffee in a Cold Styrofoam Cup 

Pulling up that brown 70s cigarette burn comforter 
at $79/night, 
I sit and listen to the main strip traffic splash 
through the flooded drainage system  
for a few hours, 
play with a rounded switch on the bedside 
lamp that went out when Hirohito 
poisonous blowfish bit it under a carless knee jerk sky  
that had moved on to other things, 
that hyena pack deck of cards missing the one-eyed jack 
in the Gideon’s preachy side table; 
another cold water 5 am shower  
and I am back on the road; 
the devil’s coffee in a cold Styrofoam cup 
in my lap and dawn’s motionless deer    
still littering the long-gutted highway 
with eyes wide as watermelons. 

Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a Canadian-born author residing in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with his wife and many mounds of snow.  His work can be found both in print and online in such places as: Evergreen Review, The New York Quarterly, Fixator Press, In Between Hangovers, Red Fez, and The Oklahoma Review.

Artificial Music by Rp Verlaine

Artificial Music 

Unwritten exceptions,
undermined escapes,
our novel approach.

Tactical engagements
of unspent collateral
in linear non-speak.

Suggestion surrenders,
impulses as electrical
discarded warnings.

in my own body,
I want yours.

Trying to be human
in this android factory of
dazzling spare parts.

Immobile until
inertia surrenders
remote possibilities

Love becomes
a tempting commodity
others manufacture.

We take our places
as if an assembly line
of the latest models.

Electrical impulses
through liquor placebos
we test for sparks.

To artificial music
on crowded dance floor
take tentative steps.

Lacking direction
we slow dance until
only we remain.

Rp Verlaine, a retired English teacher living in NYC, has an MFA in creative writing from City College. He has several collections of poetry including Femme Fatales Movie Starlets & Rockers (2018) and Lies From The Autobiography 1-3 (2018-2020). Rp’s work has been featured in Punk Noir, Ygdrasil, and Runcible Spoon.