Allison Grayhurst

Stage
 
 
No warmth in my
shoes. No gently touching
of my eyelashes.
The crater has left its imprint
and my only child is weeping.
Love has sunk below the line, grows painful as
a thousand papercuts. Why is there this
push into the primal darkness, where everything
is surface and small and contagious? Why can’t
we, of all lovers, overcome?
Touch my fingertips, tell me we can breathe it out
and return to the depths of our true connection.
Tell me we are brave enough to walk away
from this cancer breeding side,
face each other like we use to,
free of defense and the bitter masks
of useless pride.
 
 
 
 
 
Otherwise
 
 
I would make room for truth
to quicken me, and laziness
and anger would lose the reins.
 
my dreams would be pure
and my sense of justice would never be offended.
 
when the bank account ran out
and tension forked into my throat and
the trees have lost their glory, then I
would be humbled and know the way
is to let go.
 
my death-wish would be
but a small ripple in my soup,
and all my passions would be holy.
 
the bitter wrinkle would
not distort my face and forgiveness would
be part of my unconscious nature.
 
when the toilet floods I would laugh
and I would be grateful for the great loves I have.
 
there would be no fear of doing good
and I would kiss the faces of my enemies with pleasure
and with quiet wonder.
 
 
 
Door With No Dreams
 
 
The braid is made
of thorns and weeds.
The last brutal kiss is locked
tight in my throat. Breathing is
hard, as is smiling at the one
who rules with guilt.
I count four windows with
no opening. I place my
hands on the back of a cloud,
and know the cloud is all that I see.
 
 
 
 
 
The Bane of My Hypocrisy
 
 
Point – a head twisted backwards,
gazing with upside-down eyes
at the rainy world, a tightly woven
madness that is interrupted at the moment
of release, beauty recovered
but broken before experienced – an acorn
crushed by a car wheel – the treacherous and
oblivious – a candle looked at but never lit.
It is the time of a baby’s teething, when pain drools out in
a flooding aftermath of unnameable agony.
This is the child who
has no use for the outside world. This is me curled into
a dull surrender – unsure if there is a next move,
if there will be a time when I can rid myself of the bile
filling my belly – the corporate pimps and sluts, the self-
important money-makers, the big little people,
these devil’s minions who try to bury me in their fear
and their soulless security, panting at my doorstep
with their sewn-on smiles and breath
of fresh infant’s blood.
 
 
 
 
In Perspective
 
 
Watching with chaos
rampant in my head, the unbroken
bread leaves me dreamless.
But that will be for now and though
grace is dim, it is near like the ghost
of a dead loved one. The wind warns me
to keep breathing. These bleak months will
work themselves into a monumental miracle,
and every gesture I do today will paint my
room new for tomorrow. In all the places
that count, joy will be fed. It says
humble your sail and drift with the hungry tide.
It says, hold this sand and plan your next
sculpture. Soon these cruel days
will be a grain lost
beneath some ageless waters.
 

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Allison Grayhurst is a member of the League of Canadian Poets. Three of her poems have been nominated for Sundress Publications “Best of the Net” 2015, and she has over 1000 poems published in more than 410 international journals and anthologies. Her book Somewhere Falling was published by Beach Holme Publishers, a Porcepic Book, in Vancouver in 1995. Since then she has published twelve other books of poetry and seven collections with Edge Unlimited Publishing. Prior to the publication of Somewhere Falling she had a poetry book published, Common Dream, and four chapbooks published by The Plowman. Her poetry chapbook The River is Blind was published by Ottawa publisher above/ground press December 2012. In 2014 her chapbook Surrogate Dharma was published by Kind of a Hurricane Press, Barometric Pressures Author Series. In 2015, her book No Raft – No Ocean was published by Scars Publications. More recently, her book Make the Wind was published in 2016 by Scars Publications. As well, her book Trial and Witness – selected poems, was published in 2016 by Creative Talents Unleashed (CTU Publishing Group). She is a vegan. She lives in Toronto with her family. She also sculpts, working with clay; www.allisongrayhurst.com

B Bryon

dad.

 
 
I remember watching ‘Empire Strikes back’
with my dad for the first time
That scene appeared
where Darth Vader ask Luke to join him and rule the galaxy
I turned and looked at my dad and said
I would have so joined him.
My dad’s face red
his teeth crooked
he screamed –
do you want to go to hell?
that’s where Darth Vader is going … he’s going to hell!
my dad danced out of the room
i looked around for him
trying to explain
that it wasn’t Darth Vader I wanted to join …
it was him.

Patrick Winters

The Life and Death of Jacoby Fogg

I was born as a bastard on Hallow’s Eve;
Spent my first hour cryin’ for some reprieve.
They wrapped me up and they took me home
To a house of ten, where I was all alone.
I had a cold, cold, black, black nursery—
The color of Hades and half as serene.
Fed on mother’s milk and teethed on silence,
Raised on television, belts, and violence.
I dressed up smartly and I went to school,
Looking like a dapper, sulking ghoul;
Sorta learned my lessons and practiced my tongues,
Climbing that Ladder of Crooked Rungs.
Got me a coffin—it fit from nine to five,
Day-dreaming of when I might wake up alive.
I paid my taxes and I bought an apartment
Spending time passed out or feeling disheartened.
Never walked down an aisle, except in a store—
Just made my love with hundreds and whores;
Never bore a child who could carry my name—
Why rub dirt on what’s already a stain?
My life went on without much further note,
Until a rattle came up out of my throat.
I died on a Wednesday, feeling no pain;
Got buried next Sunday, in the pouring rain.

I sighed in Hell as it poured down rain

Patrick Winters is a recent graduate of Illinois College in Jacksonville, IL, where he earned a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing. He has been published in the likes of Sanitarium MagazineThe Sirens CallTrysts of Fate, and other such titles.

Isabelle Marlene Serna

 

Bed and Fridge

 

 

She got me up daily!

Oooh girl, you got me

sprung. You are so

cold-smooth to the

touch. Silver-front black-edges

You burrrrrrrrr me

to sleep. Lay on these sheets that

clothe me. With comfort

Lay on me.

 

Baby, cool me

Oh, when you spread open

cool breeze. Let me melt

Your ice. You turned on 24/7

plugged in and runnin’ like a

7-eleven. Pull push jump

On me.

I spring I hold I flex

Every edge on you

I will

caress.

 

Oh, you cool my springs

Hungry, I crave

Fill me. Baby

memory foam

Ain’t got nothing on me.

 

Every crevice corner edge curve

I will plush and

Lull you

to sleep.

 

Your front is cold

hot in your

Behind. I squish I dip I plush

Sink into my

comfort

Baby, whirlpool my

Wonder.

 

I want to hear you

Bounce. Destress

muscles ease not

tense.

 

Baby, our hearts inside

don’t lie. Half of

the same. Love—

Hallelujah. I pray the Lord

Please just

Stay. Lay on me

We are one of

the same.

 

Jimmy Tucker

Write Like Burroughs

 

Everyone is writing like Burroughs.
Trying to write like Burroughs.
My wife wrote like Burroughs.
Toed that line, walked that walk.
Danced that dance, necromanced.
We fucked in bug crawling romance.
She died like Burroughs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jimmy tucker is from Charleston, SC, went to the University of South Carolina and would like to thank you for your time.

Ryan Quinn Flanagan

Half-Worldly

 

 

 

The girls who swallow down a full salt shaker

of Johns in a single evening

think you half-worldly because you stand by the curb

looking down at 3 in the morning.

If you looked up, it would be for god.

Then you would be a fool.

They have no illusions about that.

But a man who eats his $1.50 hotdog

around the carefully folded sides of a napkin

looking down over the dark precipice,

there must be something there.

Some story they have not heard.

Some thrill or mystery or secret

they have not thought of.

When they approach, they do so slowly.

Tapping me on the shoulder like a sheet of heavy rain.

I say nothing.

Because I do not have the heart

to tell them.

Or ask if they haven’t shoved

enough all beef wieners down their painted

gullets already.

 

 

 

 

Feeding the Machine

 

 

 

That giant green monster

of Scarborough

belting out miseries

so the screeching soprano

could sleep in

that giant binding machine

of sleepless terror

and human components

through the punch clock door

in shifts

I have worked them all –

there are no winners

and I fed the machine

and everyone else fed the machine

and the supervisors would turn up

the speed to make quota

and it was impossible to keep up

but we all tried

feeding more and more of ourselves

away with each shift, month,

year…

bags under the eyes for a pittance

the muling back shot

straight survivalism

eventually I would place the pages in the feeder

unevenly so it would jam

and the machine operator would cuss me out

and the floor super would keep a close eye

but there was a momentary lapse

as they removed the jam

before starting up the machine

again.

 

 

 

 

“You Feel Me?”

 

 

This skinny white kid

just out of diapers

pulls his baggy pants back up

over his waist

makes a curious sign

with his hands

and says:

you feel me?

And I am not

some dusty ancient

relic.

I know

this is not a

come on.

Still, I tell the child

I would not even feel him

if he were my wife

who is dead.

And the boy has nothing to say.

Just as I don’t have a wife,

and certainly not a dead

one.

 

 

 

 

Charlotte Bronte Made Me Pancakes

 

She lived in affordable housing along the TransCanada

at the Regina apartment complex.

Her name was Charlotte so I called her Charlotte Bronte.

She liked that.

She thought I made it up because I liked her.

The stupid little things men do to stand out.

Her kids had been taken away.

Wards of the state.

They even took one of them right out of the delivery room.

But Charlotte kept getting knocked up.

So the state had to keep coming back for more children.

They started handing her pamphlets about abortion,

but she said she didn’t believe in that.

I liked Charlotte because she was largely honest.

Everyone else were thieves.

She stole as well, but only when she needed food.

And she made the best pancakes.

I don’t know what she did different, but they were delicious.

And the maple syrup from the food bank

was past its best before date,

but it was glorious as well.

The way it coated your stomach and gave you

a sugar rush.

Charlotte Bronte made me pancakes three times a week.

She was into junk that I was not into, but we shared

a love of the bottle.

I don’t think she had any sisters, I know you wanted

to go there.

It was just her and a green parakeet named Dusty.

Who kept crapping all over the newspapers

that lined the bottom of his ill-fitting

cage.

 

 

 

 

Another Spitter of Oral Hygiene

 

 

She rolls her tube of toothpaste down

like sliding a condom over

the shaft

and it is hard not to think

of witness protection

of crash sites made safe

as prams

spermicide on the fingers

like the extra butter of movie house

popcorn

assassins with bullets named after

Saturday morning cartoon characters

pleading insanity across the

board.

The randomness of that.

Chicken shacks on lost country roads.

And my tube of toothpaste

is a straight reflection

of me.

It is a mess.

I don’t know when both our toothbrushes

finally became battery operated,

but it sounds like I’m sticking

a long angled dildo

in my mouth.

Night after night.

Working it around for maximum effect.

And I guess that makes me a spitter.

Washing away the evidence

before it can dry to the sink basin

and stay.

Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a Canadian-born author residing in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with his other half and mounds of snow.  His work can be found both in print and online in such places as: Evergreen Review, The New York Quarterly, Word Riot, In Between Hangovers, Red Fez, and Horror Sleaze Trash.

Contest

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Go there, join, and navigate to the events. There you will see which poetry and other writing contest we have going on.

 

Thx

 

And have a weird day.

 

Stay Weird and Keep Writing!

&

STAY GONZO!

Haho!