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
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
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
I spring I hold I flex
Every edge on you
Oh, you cool my springs
Hungry, I crave
Fill me. Baby
Ain’t got nothing on me.
Every crevice corner edge curve
I will plush and
Your front is cold
hot in your
Behind. I squish I dip I plush
Sink into my
Baby, whirlpool my
I want to hear you
muscles ease not
Baby, our hearts inside
don’t lie. Half of
the same. Love—
Hallelujah. I pray the Lord
Stay. Lay on me
We are one of
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.
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
Feeding the Machine
That giant green monster
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
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,
bags under the eyes for a pittance
the muling back shot
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
“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
you feel me?
And I am not
some dusty ancient
this is not a
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
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
Another Spitter of Oral Hygiene
She rolls her tube of toothpaste down
like sliding a condom over
and it is hard not to think
of witness protection
of crash sites made safe
spermicide on the fingers
like the extra butter of movie house
assassins with bullets named after
Saturday morning cartoon characters
pleading insanity across the
The randomness of that.
Chicken shacks on lost country roads.
And my tube of toothpaste
is a straight reflection
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
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.