the thirst of a perfect July

    Alfred Booth

    I have written books on regret
    tattered pages of July thunderstorms
    making umbrellas of our merriment

    the rhyme to scatter crowds
    is clouds, big thick dark ominous
    those I prefer, like rain soft
    often eclipsed as we search for falling stars

    I have stopped wishing
    and drink rarely from my wells of love
    speak before they dry
    the only wrong words are silent ones

    Alfred Booth is an American professional pianist who lives in France.  He folds origami; its patience often inspires poetry. When he is not at the piano learning new arcane repertoire to stretch his horizons, he teaches would-be amateur musicians to put enough bread on the table. 

    The Day Mama Slapped Satan

    Micheal A Griffith

    Let me tell you,

    it was August back before The War.

    Mama and me sat on the porch

    watching the day pass us by

    like a wounded dog.

    Hot day,

    too hot to move much.

    Flies buzzing around,

    outhouse smelling real ripe.

    Complaining did no good,

    but we done it anyhow.

    Day kept on limping by,

    we kept on fanning ourselves,

    sweating there, hoping

    for a breeze what might never come.

    What came was Satan.

    Pulled up in a long red car.

    A big city car.

    Shiny, real shiny in the sun.


    He waves, comes up to the porch

    carrying a black suitcase bigger’n me.

    Smiles so big,

    white white teeth

    mouth never touched chaw

    or a cigarette.

    But he was still a bad bad man.

    Says he’s got all kinds of stuff for sale

    in that big black case.

    Jewelry, watches, toys,

    perfumes, soaps and notions.

    (Not sure what “notions” is,

    but the way he looked up at my mama

    when he said that word makes me think

    they ain’t good things for her

    or most any lady.)

    Can he come on in and show her?

    He comes up, hands me a tin car he has in his pocket.

    “Free. Just for you.

    Now, sonny, you take it and go play.”

    Mama says my name like a angry pastor would

    but I wasn’t really going to take it,

    ’cause I knew Satan when I seen him.

    That white suit, black shoes what never touched mud

    or never seen no dust on them. Never been in grass.

    His hair so oiled, forehead wetter’n my armpits was.

    Too slick, too white, too clean in the damn heat.

    Man just had to be Satan.

    Kept trying to get Mama

    to take him inside,

    to show her his stuff,

    telling me to take the tin car –

    red and shiny, just like his city car –

    to go and play, he wants to talk with my mama


    He leaned in close to her

    and she never stopped fanning her face,

    rocking in her chair.

    He smiled real real big

    whispered so quiet I could never hear.

    Mama, she stopped her fanning, stopped her rocking,

    looked Satan in his eyes

    and slapped him so hard he went spinning.

    Slap loud as a whip crack.

    Satan’s cheek red as his city car.

    Him so angry he shouted every bad word on Earth,

    calling my Mama names no lady ever ought to hear.

    He go storming back to his big car

    thumping that black case of his,

    threw that toy car off in the yard,

    fast as lightning.

    He drives away real loud

    and there’s a big breeze.

    Starts to cool off a minute later

    and a nice soft rain comes,

    makes Mama and me both smile and feel real good.

    Day later I buried Satan’s toy car up at the church

    where it ain’t done no harm

    or no good ever since.


    Micheal A Griffith

    I do my praying

    in a flat-pillowed bed (no nails, some coals),

    in a speeding, careening, slick-road car,

    or my porcelain throne

    in my own ivory tower.

    Why should our Father, who art in Heaven

    Father Abba Ali Baba “OPEN!”, sez me

    listen to sleepy, screechy, stinky me?

    (Because I listened to my sleepy, screechy, stinky daughter when she was a baby, I suppose.)

    Michael Griffith began writing poetry as a way to heal his mind and spirit as his body recovered from a life-changing injury. His writing has appeared in online and print outlets such as Teaching For Success, Lehigh Valley Woman’s Journal, Twilight Times, Dual Coast Poetry, Haiku Journal, Three Line Poetry, Poetry Quarterly, Indiana Voice Journal, and Ripen the Page. He teaches and resides in central New Jersey

    Broken Calm

    Chris Tabaca

    Pitch black

    foreboding night

    distant rumbles

    a sharp crash of thunder

    the sky is split in two

    by a white hot bolt of lighting

    mighty trees bow to the wind

    awakening sleeping beasts

    the hearts of men race

    pounding in their ears

    bones rattle

    teeth gnash


    as all await the next imminent strike


    Ann Christine Tabaka was born and lives in Delaware. She is a published poet, an artist, a chemist, and a personal trainer. She loves gardening, cooking, and the ocean. Chris lives with her husband and two cats. Her poems have been published in numerous national and international poetry journals, reviews, and anthologies

    London attack?

    David Susswein


    a heated pressure front of air


    the doppler sounds of an emergency siren


    the vestibulum registers a vertical orientation change

    I have been diagnosed with Cotard’s Syndrome,

    I believe my bones are broken inside

    me, I feel like paper mache

    I walk only on tissues of air

    I know my body’s internal organs

    have died, atrophied and

    cankers rotting suppurating

    flesh. flesh-less I only stand

    because I have forgotten how to



    tell my wife I had loved her


    tell the earth I am sorry for our race;

    always treading on you, so badly.

    When the Child Asked Me the Question.

    David Susswein


    what holds

    up the sky, why do

    grey clouds rain sometimes,

    why do we walk upright, why do

    girls not have things and what do girls

    things look like, the earth is it like a ball

    are we standing on it or in it, why must i stay

    away from strangers, who will hurt me, do they know

    when I’ve been bad and will they punish me, if there are

    sat.. satellites spinning around us how come they know how to

    make a circle why don’t they just crash, and why do i wear shorter

    trousers and lizzie wears dresses, why is it daddy I feel alone and all

    lonely and when I’m with mummy, lizzie or you daddy i don’t feel lonely why,


    well the

    sky is light and floats like bubbles, clouds are grey because they are full of rain,

    we walk upright because that’s how God made us, girls and boys are made to

    fit eachother, that’s what being grown up is all about, we are standing

    on top of it, strangers don’t know when you’re bad and you’re good

    almost always, some strangers though are bad and that’s why

    they might hurt you, satellites spin around the earth

    because they are sought of held up by gravity,

    and because they have rockets that keep

    them spinning properly, you wear

    shorts because you’re my boy

    and lizzie wears dresses,

    because that’s what

    girls do, and,


    …we feel lonely and we all do need,

    and i feel trapped and i don’t love your mummy anymore

    and i have never understood why people hurt eachother

    and i was watching the news and i can’t make sense of it

    and your mummy never touches me anymore and i feel so

    alone and i don’t know what I’m going to do with you and

    i never should have been a father and I’m so frightened of

    letting you down and lizzie doesn’t hug me anymore i think

    mummy doesn’t love me and she tells her not to and what

    do you do when you’re forty and nothing is as it was going

    to be and how do you start again with two children and a

    broken marriage and I’m so frightened all the time all the

    time and i don’t want to talk anymore not anymore, Talk.

    I’m so tired i don’t want to talk.

    and i said nothing and i stroked his hair

    and his hair smelt like my life beneath my fingers

    and we sat down and watched the news.

    another Algerian massacre, an increase in the rape figures,

    tundra drying to deserts, and oceans clogged with human waste

    and at the end the inevitable cat saving a burning building

    without need of any superhero’s mask or cape.

    So. It was alright after all.

    Except nothing really mattered

    and there’s no point and there’s nothing to do

    and there’s nothing to say and there’s no one

    to answer all the questions I can’t even ask

    and look:- at all the starving black children

    with their swollen bellies and their mothers

    with tits drained of all nourishment as they wait

    for their time to die — before their child? —after?

    A nature so harsh it even mocks hunger with gluttony.

    And I know everything to tell my son,

    and I know everything to tell my son:

    everything is alright, every new day remakes

    everything new, because every tear you’ve ever

    cried has always dried and has never left a stain.

    as everyone is raped in little ways

    as everyone has their dreams broken

    as everyone shuts their fucking eyes

    so we can carry on and survive

    But don’t worry, don’t worry I’ll protect you

    with all my possessions,

    with my hands, my body

    with my fists my fists my fists  [my fists]

    so you can carry on and survive.

    David Susswein is a writer from the South of England, right at the bottom. He has tried all his life to write well, to communicate, to talk to others; he cannot understand any other reason to write. Envoi, DreamCatcher, Picaroon Poetry, ShotGlass Journal, Tuck Magazine, Dissident Voice, an anthology in Farsi/English ‘Where Are You From?’  and others have heard his plea and answered.

    They exterminate dreamers don’t they?

    Andrew Lawson

    They took all the free spirits away
    in steel modern boxcars
    with a diamond window
    with a view of the passing hills

    they were that breed of mankind
    artists and dreamers
    filled with childlike optimism
    that gave the working drones
    a nagging emptiness
    like a failed marriage

    they would be unloaded
    and put in two groups
    the willing to adapt
    or the hopeless dreamers

    one group would survive
    and be indoctrinated
    taught to just accept
    the gruel of conformity

    the dreamers

    Andrew Lawson hails from Connecticut USA. He pens song lyrics, poetry, children stories and ghost stories and an eclectic mishmash.

    Continuous fall of deep in

    Charles Carr

    If I could
    put it to words
    it would be
    the heavy breath
    of light
    that touches through
    new leaves
    on a row of trees
    between where we sit
    and the sun finally peaks
    over a mountain
    and speaks us
    into a single shadow
    of all the places
    neither of us could reach
    without the other

    for the one whose final words left litter in my veins


    i take the Midwest   its storms upstaging every corner of the sky
    too involved with open roads    lazy lands i touch
    with just a whisper   and you’re there     my undoing
    practically grinning at the locusts     not a single crop

    it seems a worm has worked its way into love again
    consuming every sweet intention      i make Iowa  by half a day
    sooner than i expected     what lives there i don’t know
    i ease through dead crowds of corn     one wheel is faint

    the other three still screech your name    so loud it leaves a mark
    and i am stranded  with green stop signs in my eyes    hair yelling
    at the wind    what a wink couldn’t fix     how gone i feel
    from your flattery      how flat i am  when you don’t pursue


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