Monday, October 15, 2018


man crying on the blue line L (chicago)

it’s probably true
that in big cities
you can sob on a train
and people will most likely
leave you alone
it’s not even rush hour here
in the great city of chicago
and we’re packed on this train
some people coming home from work
others doing touristy things
like me
talking to my wife
about deep dish pizza and wrigley field
about maybe moving
out of new york city and coming here
he’s in a seat midway
down the train car
head buried in his hands
sobbing openly
chest heaving into his knees
the seats around him empty
even though people have to stand
the seats around him diseased
with his sadness
he doesn’t look homeless
so i wonder what else
america has done to him
in these dark days
it could be any number of things
in this country
we treat each other like animals
we watch america chew
someone up
take in the spectacle
like its on video and not right before our eyes
then we check the weather
and our twitter feed for more
i don’t know
what’s happened to this guy
but, jesus christ,
there should be some comfort
only i know
i’m not going to be the one
to ask him what’s wrong
i know my role in this hard land
only too well
and that’s to get off the train
at the next stop
just like everyone else
pull myself up
by my worn-out bootstraps
shake that scene out of my mind
his crying
his bellowing into flesh
and metal and plastic
pray to god that’s never me
then turn with a smile
to ask my wife
what it is that she thinks she wants
for lunch.

--John Grochalski


Sunday, October 14, 2018


Only 46% of White Women Believe Dr. Ford

I want to study them,
separate them from their spouses
pull them from their republican mind frame
and their Fox News.

(I want to pretend they are all Republicans though I know this to be a lie)

I want to know what they think they will gain
when they go to sleep each night
cuddled up with white supremacy.
Do they think that keeps them safe?
Do they think it makes them right?

What do they think of when they go to sleep?
Do they think of themselves,
under the hands of a drunk boy at college?
Do they tell themselves that they survived and moved on
that other women will learn to do the same?

Do they think about girls in body bags, the way I do at night?

I want to ask all my fellow white women,
what they think he will give them that their sisters cannot.
He will not share his power or his might.
He is not a guarantee of protection.

In fact, I wonder if they lay there at night
and sometimes realize for one cold terrible moment that
could be their undoing.

--Ally Malinenko 

Saturday, October 13, 2018


the high cost of dying (part 2)

what is the
price of a life
we wonder

as we wait

I hold her
hand in mine
bruised and fragile

she smiles sweetly

I can't tell her
her months of care
might not be paid

what is the cost
of this weight
on my shoulders

light compared
to her

I smile back

hoping she can't
see the pain
in my eyes

I'm tired
I think
planning my lie

brushing her hair
out of her eyes
caressing her forehead

she closes her eyes

I rub her cheek
with the back
of my fingers

she captures
my fingers with
her cheek

her skin
soft and warm
I rest my head

close my eyes

--Thomas R. Thomas

Friday, October 12, 2018


Let's shut her down, boys!

            I see my mother standing
            in front of an open window
            It's summer
            She's wringing a dishtowel
            dry in her hands. 

--Daniel Crocker

First published by We Want Insanity!

Thursday, October 11, 2018


THUMP, Rasputin, and World Domination

The attack along the border began at 0500 and caught the Mexicans by surprise; the war was over in weeks, Mexico City and Guadalajara carpet-bombed into submission; it was no contest; the Federales melted like ice in Tijuana. Commander Thump then turned North—a brilliant move—the Canadians least expected it. Mexican mercenaries overran the provinces in no time flat, and American Armed Forces set-up camp on the plains of Quebec. Those Quebequoi who refused to be enrolled in English-language classes were sent into detention in Montreal, converted into a Gulag for enemies of the state…Thump was proclaimed Emperor of the Americas, Greatest Warlord of All-Time, Head Honcho, High Exalted Ruler, and A Swell Guy; American troops massed on the old Mexican/Guatemala border for the next big surge.
     People in South America began to shit bricks as cholo politicians scrambled to make deals that The Thumper, self-proclaimed Czar of the Heavens and Plenipotentiary of the 5, 6, 7, and 12 year plans to make America great again, refused; he had all the chips, he said, why should he play anymore? Everyone agreed that he had a point; his Deplorables infiltrated South American governments to act as 5th columnists; the push south began in November on the Day of the Dead—there were plenty of those soon enough—within weeks the stars & stripes was planted on the Antarctic Peninsula…Now the two great Super-Duper powers, America and Russia—which had conquered Asia, Europe, and Africa—had control of the known world, people, goods, governments…The whole shebang.
     Thump and his buddy RasPutin, Sultan of Squat, Great Poo-Bah, Man of LaMancha, and Indomiable of Indomitables of Greater, Lesser, and Intermediate Russia, met on Thump’s yacht somewhere in the Gulf of Mexico (now called South Texas) to confer on issues of World Domination and do some fishing, RasPutin catching a great white shark on day one (Thump a suckerfish). Thump bartered Washington D.C., New York, and the West Coast of the United States for mainland China. RasPutin let the state formerly known as Netherlands and the heel of Italy (now Italmenstan) go for the South Jersey Shore and Uruguay. Thump offered the eastern seaboard and all its establishments for Finland and a country to be named later but RasPutin said “ne-ett!” The discussion went back and forth, the conference a swimming success until the final day, when the moon, which came out, also came under discussion. Thump claimed proprietary rights because of American moon landings, and RasPutin uttered his now famous re-joiner: “the moon shine over Moscow too!” Thump sang a few bars of “Shine on Harvest Moon,” out of tune, and offered to rent a few acres (on the dark side), to which the Russian He-man and Man About Town thumped his nose. When Thump interjected “you’re fired!” RasPutin did a Jack Armstrongski—a judo chop to Thump’s fat head. His Bloatedness responded with a kick to the rubles…The bromance was over. The new Ice Cold Age set in…No sign of a thaw yet.

--Wayne F. Burke

Burke is a poet and critic. He has published 5 full-length poetry collections (most recently, IN DREAMS WE CHASE THE LION, Alien Buddha Press). He lives in the Pine Tree State.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018



                                    Introibo ad altare Dei.
                                    Ad Deum que laetificat juvetutem meam.

We’d ask Father Logue how far
up her skirt our fingers could crawl.
We’d ask him if French kissing was a sin and
to which base we could safely go?

We asked Fr. Logue these questions
in his Marriage Class at Saint Mary’s High
in 1968. We tried to get him to say words
we weren’t allowed to say in religion class.

We loved to watch sweat-beads
form on his forehead as this good man
struggled, not with our questions, but
with his impulse to bean his questioners.

His response was forthright, unwavering:
“You will never respect yourself
unless you respect the person you’re with.
A woman is not a plaything, a toy

for your enjoyment. There are places
you won’t go because dignity prevents you,
and, of course, if she says ‘no’ you stop
because she is a child of God, just like you.”

We never asked the good Father whether
we could hold a girl down against her will
or whether Jesus would look away should we
cup a hand over her mouth so she couldn’t scream.

We never inquired about the sin potential
of grabbing a girl’s blouse and pulling it off,
or straddling her so she couldn’t pull away
from our grasp. We were, many of us,

intellectual oafs, but we knew what the word
“respect” meant. We wanted sex, lots of it,
but only on the altar of consent where
the jouissance and the mire were mutual.

--Charlie Brice


Tuesday, October 9, 2018


The Laughter

It was the laughter she remember the most
not the hand over her mouth
though that was there and scared her too
not the hand furious grabbing her,
trying to pull off her clothes,
not the music he turned up
so that no one would hear her scream.

No it was the laughter
the moment she realized
that this was not about her.
That it wasn’t even about want
or expectation
or taking something that isn’t his.

It was about
for this friend
watching from the side.
This is the way boys bond
By destroying girls.

--Ally Malinenko

Monday, October 8, 2018


Meme Language Poem

He cannot even.
He cannot even, does not believe,
misspells “fact” as “F-A-K-E.”
Donald Trump cannot even with journalism,
with science, with Constitution,
with checks and balances,
oh, he cannot even with rule of law.

Donald Trump likes women on their knees
but not black men in shoulder pads on their knees,
but not sneakers or cleats or sweatshirts
with a swoosh for a label.
He cannot even with black men and brown men.
Black women and brown women.
Black children and brown children.
Donald Trump cannot even, not with black and brown.

Donald Trump sees good people on both sides,
he sees good people on the Nazi side
he sees good people on the Klan side
he forgets about my grandfather’s blood
on an overgrown battlefield in France
he doesn’t see Nazi shrapnel in his knees.

Donald Trump cannot even
America, America.

--Shawn Pavey