Thursday, August 16, 2018


heaven is hell

you can’t justify
the rape and assault
of thousands of kids

you can’t explain it away
or apologize

this catholic “problem”

you can’t reason promising children heaven
while putting them through hell

ruining countless lives in the name of christ

back then we knew the priests to stay away from
…or some of the lucky did

father richie who always wondered
why martin never came around

used to call us and whine on the phone
used to grab us in the hallways

the ones who didn’t attract him as much

oh, where’s martin?
why is martin treating me this way?

father richie who the pittsburgh dioceses
moved around from church to church
for almost twenty years

letting him take nude photos of boys
fondle their gentiles and whatever else
pine over their adolescent flesh
while watching us sweat at cyo basketball games

before some bishop put him on leave
because the heat grew too big
because ignorance in sin have always been the catholic way

father richie who died in columbia
living his “flamboyant” gay lifestyle
murdered in his apartment

while running a boy prostitute ring
for horny american men

“flamboyant” is a catholic word for shame

you can’t justify
the rape and assault
of thousands of children, motherfuckers

you can’t apologize this horror away

there are no sorries
there are no one million our fathers
no thousands of hail marys
to serve as a penance

no bullshit words from the pope
no bullshit edict from rome

no confessional booth big enough to house
your reverent flock of rapists and pedophiles

there is nothing left on this earth
for a religion as corrupt at its core

that has damaged so many lives

except to die
its withered and black death

die on the vine
and be no more.

--John Grochalski


Wednesday, August 15, 2018



you call a woman a dog
you call a black woman a dog

you’re the dog
mr. “president”

the orange mutt of america

smearing your orange diarrhea lies
on each and every street

you’re the dog
little kick-me racist

putin’s poodle
pulled along by a russian leash

with no balls

sowing hate
from sea to shining sea

with every single whiney
twitter bark

--John Grochalski



Tuesday, August 14, 2018


Clean Sheets

The Cova Hotel
is getting all new blankets
and the old ones
are sitting in boxes
in the parking lot
Arlen is drunk
he drops the boxes on the pavement
and they split open like apples
“Careful, dammit!” says Stubbs
When Arlen is done
Stubbs gives him $3
and a hit off his pipe
then puts up a sign
“Clean Sheets- $2”
The sheets and blankets
form a big white cloud
on the sidewalk
and the junkies line up
to buy them
Around here
the clean sheets
never last long.

--Jon Bennett

Monday, August 13, 2018


                                      The Day Job (For Nancy Krieg)

we work till we’re blind
figuratively perhaps
but when the garage door
goes up in the darkness
comes down in darkness
it becomes hard
to tell if we haven’t
accidentally transformed
into moles
and then the days bleed together
and together and together
until they become a river
we can’t actually see
for having our heads
under, the paycheck
gets no bigger, we stretch
and stretch and stretch
to the point of breaking
it’s a wonder we can even pretend
to be alright, all our heart
given out before we have time
to even rest with ourselves
of course, the world seems crazy
of course, it feels insurmountable
we wait, look for a magic wand
something to clear cloud cover
give you a few minutes to feel human
again blank without the flow of the world
and with the sun directly on our faces
breathlessly easy for a short while

--Jason Baldinger

Sunday, August 12, 2018


white boy roy

white boy roy is at it again
he doesn’t like all of these trump doomsayers
i mean who’s bombing our cities?
the economy is doing well….so shut up
white boy roy won’t buy into the hysteria
white boy roy is white
so white boy roy is above hysteria
white boy roy thinks you’re hysterical over trump
white boy roy uses coded language
but, still, that means he doesn’t have to consider women
or homosexual people
or people of color
in his opinions
white boy roy is SO beyond identity politics
YOU people lost him the election with that shit
white boy roy wants to speak to the working class again
the WHITE MALE working class
white boy roy wants the rest of you to take a seat
and let us handle it from here
his privilege is as rotten as a dead dog by the side of the road
he doesn’t care about kids in cages
reproduction rights
black people being shot by cops
muslim bans etc.
white boy roy sites articles that entrench his patriarchy
he posts links that have been sculpted to his opinion
when you disagree
you can smell white boy roy’s smugness
from across an ocean
white boy roy calls for social media civility
while he tries to tear you down
white boy roy sticks a russian flag in his mouth and smokes it
he says it’s good to talk to russia
then he sits there sipping on craft beer
waiting on you to respond
white boy roy thinks he’s a contrarian
but he’s got contrarian confused with the word capitulation
if he had hitchen’s ashes in front of him
he’d piss on them
white boy roy still claims that he’s a liberal
but he doesn’t have anyone fooled
white boy roy is NOT your friend
he’s that wolf in sheep’s clothing hiding in the forest
no matter what goes down in america
white boy roy will be fine
to spin his bullshit anew
white boy roy is blood shed on indigenous land
he should take a good hard look in the mirror
next time he speaks
white boy roy
you need to read some history
and shut the fuck up.

--John Grochalski


Saturday, August 11, 2018


Your president

constantly, incessantly,
calls the press an enemy
of the American people

praises a foreign leader
for his tendency to
kill journalists, naming it
“good leadership”

says nothing about T-shirts
worn by his crowd
with the words:
Rope. Journalist. Tree.
Some assembly required.

How do you feel
about your grudge
against journalists
at a newspaper
you hate

(It’s Just a Question)

--Rachel Toalson

Friday, August 10, 2018


The Canteen Fascists

The canteen fascists meet and watch Sky News
each night at 2 a.m. to hate the world.
The factory business clatters on beneath them.
Led by the manager, they pour vitriol
on the refugees of Calais and how well they’re dressed,
and the phones they’re pictured using (‘That’s a fuckin’ Samsung!’);
it even makes them livid that the men play pool.
The boss says, ‘Send the fuckin’ bastards home.
Those cunts, every one of them’s with fuckin’ ISIS.
They only want to come here for the benefits.
Then they pray all fuckin’ day and blow your arms and legs off.
A tank and a machine gun, that would do it.
Send the Army into Calais, then they’d all fuck off
back home to whatever fuckin’ stinkhole made them.’

--Bruce Hodder

Thursday, August 9, 2018


The Art of the Deal

Trump spoke in whispers
with Putin, beaming
at the deals he made

proud he sold Alaska
for a tidy profit
pocketing the

800 k from the
8 million dollar sale
scoring a golf course

by Prudhoe Bay
Putin smiled as he held
Trump's balls in his hands

--Thomas R. Thomas

Wednesday, August 8, 2018



only counts
in the conservative mind
when there’s a brushback
against them
otherwise they expect people
on the left
to be docile
to take things as they are
which is what they always are
which is white male patriarchy
even leaders on the left
lose their shit
when their rank and file get rowdy
they plead for calm
they plead for cooler heads
then they sit there
with their hands between their legs
and watch those republican fat cats
take and gut and gut and take
the very core and fabric of this republic
they plead for us to vote for them again
because they want to keep their jobs
in these trying times
it’s easy to want to get in line
take the smart and sensible route
but a part of me
wants this old guard
to get the hell out of the way
stop your bullshit calls for civility
as republican swine move
to hurt women
to hurt gay couples
to hurt the latino community
to continue to stomp on the black community
with the ugly impunity
that is 100% american born and bred
get out of the way
when we chant at those bastards at restaurants
when we chant at them getting into their cars
when we shame them for being vile
and lacking any shred of humanity
get out of the way
because you’re gym buddies with these swine
because you share a congressional restroom
get out of the way
or we’ll shout you motherfuckers down too
let none of you have a single thought
or a decent meal in peace.

--John Grochalski


Tuesday, August 7, 2018



This year it is a new Independence Day,
a day on which my country can celebrate
our independence from logic,
from reason,
from truth,
from evidence,
from scientific method,
independence from facts,
from integrity,
from morality,
from ethics,
from decency,
independence from the Constitution,
from legislative process,
from treaties,
from comity,
from culture,
from civility,
independence from compassion,
from kindness,
from charity,
from racial equality,
from economic equality,
from gender equality.
Time truly to celebrate our
independence from civilization!
So light the fireworks and send them
cascading into the air, rank after rank,
to explode in empty displays of
brief blinding light and deafening roar
like giant guns going off in the distance
of somebody else’s war achieving,
in the end, nothing more than
to frighten the dogs and babies.
Pop open another beer,
crack the seal on that whisky,
as the grills cool down in the chill night
and the speakers blast nostalgic,
patriotic songs from a time when
independence meant more than
a license to bully, more than
permission to piss on anyone who
doesn’t look and act like you.

--M.J. Arcangelini

Monday, August 6, 2018


Long Beach Cried Today
July 3, 2018
For Captain David Rosa

It starts with the big engine fire trucks, followed by
ambulances, squad cars, finally motorcycles.
The uncountable sirens in unison
wailing into the open air of our broken-hearted city.
I will never forget the sound, so otherworldly.
They’ve come from throughout Southern California and beyond.

The procession seems endless,
but what does time matter in honoring this man,
a fire captain and murdered hero?

I approach a police officer
to express my sorrow.
I weep as I speak the words.
Composed and stoic
in his creased black uniform,
he thanks me.                                                                                                                         

--Jeri Thompson

Sunday, August 5, 2018


This year my fifth grader said
he would not accept the
presidential merit award
for educational achievement
because there is no merit
in presidential bullying
and name-calling.

This year I said, okay,
but smiled to myself.

(The Next Generation is Coming)

--Rachel Toalson

Saturday, August 4, 2018


sunset park

little cops
drive their little cop vans
through sunset park
in the morning
collecting the men
standing around in small circles
doing nothing
but being latino and drinking beer
they collect the men
one by one
a conversation then the cuffs
then the little cops
drive their little cop vans
out of sunset park
without so much as stopping
to look at manhattan
in the distance
glittering like a jewel
in all that splendid summer sun.

--John Grochalski

Friday, August 3, 2018


(After Ginsberg)

Trumpland is deaf.
Trumpland has sold its soul for gold.
Trumpland only likes dictatorships where dissidents are killed and people don’t have rights.
Trumpland has crapped on Honest Lincoln’s beard.
Trumpland has proven Allen Ginsberg’s point. He said America was dead and he predicted Trumpland.
Lady Liberty in Trumpland’s made of pizza boxes,
and holds aloft a Bible with the love redacted.
In Trumpland only poison flowers thrive.
In Trumpland the pedlar of illusion wins.
Trumpers make speeches on their barstools drunk.
Trumpers can eat more in a single sitting
than you can in a month, and they are proud of that.
Trumpland is the apogee of crude and vulgar.
In Trumpland, apparently, there’s no more room.
Trumpland doesn’t welcome you unless you’re white
with bucket loads of money you will give to Trumpland.
Trumpland only preaches what it doesn’t practice.
Trumpland and America are not the same.
When Trumpland dies, the world will look on laughing,
and America will rise up from the dust, reborn,
with hope among its age-old crimes and vices.

--Bruce Hodder

Thursday, August 2, 2018


the fourth estate

the new fourth estate
champion of words
speaking with

intense eloquence
beaten down by the
new American fascism

wired to the will
of the people
even to those

who believe the
lies of the fascists
are for them

yet we are the
gravel under
the jackboots

we are the new
fourth estate
the new Gutenberg

speak the truth
with liquid black ink
dancing on the wires

I am the voice
of freedom, free
from all but the truth

we wield this weapon
crackling on the wires
to the revolution

--Thomas R. Thomas

Wednesday, August 1, 2018


A Dream of November

The red, white, and gold belly
of the plane bulges above me.
November wind becomes roar of engines,
no longer October’s swoosh and swirl
of trees, of leaves, of hair.
I can no longer hear you.

I do not look up, knowing
I will see the cloudless sky
and the plane, the last thing
I may see. Nothing good ever
happens on days like these.

I run away, denim skirt slapping
thick calves, bruising them, losing myself
on uphill streets past three-decker houses.
My heart races. I brace myself,
escaping the city, the plane’s target.

Miles away, the plane crashes,
smashing against an out of season
baseball field. Sirens throb, faster, faster
than my heart. Someone else dies.

Catching my breath, I inch back
to the crash. I find you,
still talking.

--Marianne Szlyk

*This poem previously appeared in Rasputin*

Tuesday, July 31, 2018


even the homeless guy
on the R train hates trump

trash bag tuxedo
he slides up to me
on a hot summer day and says,

you got any money
for a cold drink?

i hand him two bucks
then he looks down at my bag
and reads the pin i have on it

“fuck trump and fuck you for voting for him.”

he laughs and says,
yeah, man, that fucker is crazy
grab ‘em by this
grab ‘em by that
he just don’t make any sense

kind of like being homeless and hungry
thirsty in the richest goddamned country in the world
i think

as he trash bag tuxedos along
sliding up to someone else.

--John Grochalski

Monday, July 30, 2018


There is Nothing Stronger Than a Broken Woman Who Has Rebuilt Herself

How do you learn to be worthy?
This should be a textbook given out in class
to every girl
to every queer
It will be thick and the font will be too tiny to read.

How do you learn to be worthy?
When your stories don’t matter
when you’re told to stand on the sidelines
when you have sat at the table
of self-hate
and eaten everything you can
get your hands on.

How do you learn to be worthy?
How do you undo what has been done to you?
How do you manage the trauma?
This book would be a journal
a confessional
a series of tweets
from women about how they breathe
stretch and
wake up every day into a world that hates them.
It would be a book about how they stay alive.

It would be about survival
not happiness
not success
not mastery.

It would talk about being the only woman in the room.
It would talk about shame.
It would talk about laughing at yourself
in order to stay safe.
It would talk about being invisible
and living in that invisibility as if that were okay.
It would talk about power
and how power is not something you are allowed to touch.

This book would not talk about men.
There are already enough books written about men.
There are tomes and they are studied in schools
with accolades and tall wide halls.
Plus this book about learning to be worthy is not for them
because the binding is not big enough
for that conversation too.

How do you learn to be worthy
in a world that tells you
you are not.
How do you carry blood
in your veins,
thoughts in your mind,
in your heart.

How do you stand up every day and
decide that you count
when everyone around you
tells you do not.

How do you learn to be worthy?

This book has two words
and they are not
me too
they are


--Ally Malinenko

Sunday, July 29, 2018


What Trump Just Said 

you can’t prove
what I just said
is what I said
the video is lying
all of you standing there
listening to me did not hear
what you just heard
you are taking the
words that I just said
and using them against me
and I can say right here
with the most extreme
voraciously honest truth
that I did not say
the words that
billions of people
in the whole wide world
just heard me say
all of your ears are liars
what I said a half second ago
is not different than
what I am saying now
you all just think that
what you actually heard
is what you actually heard
but what you actually heard
is not what you actually heard
what I am saying now
the thing that you think
is different than what
you just actually heard
just one 
half ​
second ago
is what I have said
all along



--Thomas R. Thomas

Saturday, July 28, 2018



The most redemptive thing a man can have
is someone who he dearly loves,
just sometimes, telling him that he’s a dick.
And right now, Donald Dick, that could save
America from you; but power blinds the eyes
of anyone who you might listen to,
and they wouldn’t dare. Or are you too far gone?
Would you give a damn,
somewhere in your deepest place,
even if your daughter hated you?

--Bruce Hodder