Monday, July 16, 2018


You came and found me in the night

Before recidivism
Before relapse
Before dawn
Before the alarm clock blare
Before the real world
Before work

I wrote you
A book

I carved your secret
Initials in the soft wood frame
Around the bathroom door

Around being a word I won at
Sleep-Over Camp

We played
UNO on the couch and watched
Harold & Maude

I hummed 'When Doves Cry'

Moonwalked past the window
Chasing shadow boxers

I dreamed of winning
You kept shuffling and hiding
All the good cards in the cushions

Telling stories of snapping beach

Laughing and picnics in the breeze

--Paul Koniecki

Sunday, July 15, 2018


                                                     The Hymn to Blood Sport

they drive beamers, porsches and hummers
up Northumberland to the golf course
they don’t stop for working men
doesn’t matter the weight they carry
or that it’s ninety degrees outside
they see a workman, they speed up

I have twenty boxes of books
to drop at the local library
nothing exciting, but cheap
and saleable. the guy whose
about my age is excited
all the boxes are uniform
they’ll fit in storage easily

I bring the last dolly full
he says, do you think there
are any part time jobs open?

I laugh, I am the part time job
as if keeping your job
is now a blood sport
he answers back, you’re bigger than me
you can keep the job

I walk to the van he says
funny isn’t it, all there is is
part time work
. I laugh
I have four part time jobs
I juggle. He looks at me
do you think we’ll make it to seventy?
I answer quickly, fuck no!
it’s always hard not to swear
I say, pardon me if that’s harsh
but fuck no
. he laughs, says
if I wasn’t working, I’d say the same damn thing

--Jason Baldinger

Saturday, July 14, 2018


Maybe the World Has Decided to Lose Its Mind

The same company that cloned Dolly the sheep
has successfully cloned a primate.
but they assure us that the process
is still a long way from producing human babies
even if it were ethically permissible.

And you take comfort in the term ethnically permissible
because you do not want to think of
row after row
of small cribs
in a science center somewhere.
You do not want to think what they would do
to those babies, especially if they were brown.

You do not want to think of what they could do
if they didn’t see those babies as babies
didn’t see people as people.
What could happen when corporations get involved.

You close your eyes.

This all feels like too much science fiction
except the police are executing Black people in the streets
and they are locking
kids in cages.

They are selling up our democracy piece by piece
for their own gains,
as they watch us tear each other apart.

So maybe it isn’t too much of a stretch.
Maybe the end times are here.
Maybe the world has decided to lose its mind.

Maybe we are past the point of going high
when they go low.

You are not sure, but you will lock your door at night
and check it again before dawn.
You will try to keep what you love on this side of the door
for just a few more hours.

Outside they are shifting the goalposts yet again.
By morning you will wake in a world you don’t recognize
far from the one
you wish you could remember.

--Ally Malinenko a little self-promotion news, my new poetry collection The Philosopher's Ship

is out on Alien Buddha Press and can be purchased HERE

Friday, July 13, 2018


the burn

it is hard
to be motivated
to do anything
when it’s 80 degrees
before the sun is up
feeling like a prisoner
in your own home
because of the glare
of the insipid sun
the haze and humidity
95 yesterday
but it felt like 111
when even the whirl
of the air conditioner
is not enough
sitting on the couch half-drunk
half-crazy with the heat
as people are going mad outside
tearing each other apart
over parking spaces and shade
i remember being a kid
when they warned us
about climate change
and holes in the ozone layer
back then i was stupid enough
to think our leaders
would take care of us
because that’s what
they were elected for
but sitting here now
ending one heat wave
and waiting on the next
upset stomach
anxiety pressure
weighing down on my chest
another blazing summer
etched into the annals
of human ignorance and hell
i’ve never been less fooled
by anyone in a cheap suit
whose only master
is greed
and the almighty dollar.
--John Grochalski

Thursday, July 12, 2018


Where no one operates the lights

The lights never go off.
To sleep you burrow
under your foil blanket
and curl up like a cub.

Instead of sheep, count
children, twenty per cage.

Don't multiply to account
for how many cages.

If you need more numbers,
count the water bottles,
packs of chips, how many
children can sleep on one mat.

I don't know who she is but I
change her diaper. There aren't any toys

so she's my doll. Don't think
about why there's no dust on the wire.

The guard's gun is like the one
put to my brother's head.
To go back is death.
To stay here is purgatory.

Last night I dreamt of a lamp
beside a golden door

as I lie burrowed in a place
where the lights never go off.

--Emma Lee

Wednesday, July 11, 2018


in so much as to this point
we only get one body

it isn't easy being anyone
it's a last resort

or any other
vessel was already gone
i like fluffy pants

sesame bagels prestidigitation
mayra andrade buddhist meditation
setting suns the copious
abundant melting purple mystic sky

when you touch me
everything is blind the
interlopers always have an
advantage over the interloped

remove the element of
surprise and when two
beings enmesh
the character of their character
will be suppressed or revealed

i turn my head
in time to see
you running down the
hall a towel pinned
around your neck for
a cape laughing like
a child

faster than a lost thought
science proves in veritable detail
when you are vulnerable
your insides become heat
lightning rehabilitating the sky

--Paul Koniecki

Tuesday, July 10, 2018


fuck you justice kennedy

knew exactly what you were doing
slinking away like that
retirement my ass
handing the whole ball of wax
over to that racist game show host
that xenophobe
that human piece of garbage with a twitter account
knew exactly what you were doing
a little flattery
a little ass kissing
neil gorsuch to tickle your wrinkled old balls
on the victory lap year
the chance to play a round of golf at mar-a-largo
or trump’s shithole golf course in jersey
and you burned down a legacy
for all of that
not much of a legacy
although i think it’s safe to say now
that you never cared about anything
not about the women you’ve put in peril
not about homosexual people
not about the defenseless
not about your country…except for white men
no, justice kennedy
you stopped caring when it counted most
when the world was on the line
you waited until the last moment to show america
what color you’re really made of
and it ain’t red, white and blue
it’s canary yellow, old man
so enjoy your retirement
sit back and take it easy
while it all burns
wait for your place
to be etched on the walls
of history
in cowardice
in dogshit.

--John Grochalski


Monday, July 9, 2018


Memory Loss

It started as friendly.
This is what you tell yourself.

It was a tickle,
a pet,
a touch,
a hand on the thigh.

You shift away,
smile, nervously.
Eventually you cannot be in the same room.
You mention it.
Others mention it.

He doesn’t seem to notice.
Afterwards you wonder if he doesn’t actually care.

You will lose touch after you move away
and this will bring you great relief.

Years later he will find you on the internet
and he will start up a conversation.
You will tell yourself what happened doesn’t matter
that it was many years ago and
mostly harmless

not as insidious as the things in the news.
Not as insidious as things you’ve already lived through.

One day he will be loud and bragging
and you will be fed up
and you will remind him about what happened.

You will use the word “touch”
the way you couldn’t before.

He will be shocked.
He will be sad.
You will feel bad for making him sad.
He wants so badly to be one of the good guys
but you are wondering if maybe there aren’t any left.

If maybe there weren’t any to begin with.

Because then he will tell you he doesn’t remember
any of it.
Not the touching, not the tickles
not the hand on thigh inching upwards
not the way you used to twist yourself
like a ballerina
to avoid his touch.

He will be sorry.
He will be devastated
because he sees himself as a good man
and doesn’t understand

that there might not be any good men.

But he will never admit that it happened.
That he did this.
That he actively chose to touch you without regard.
That your body was a thing he felt entitled to.
And in that denial
you will feel his

What you avoided before will boomerang through time and space
and land squarely with you again.

And it will not be that he did it that upsets you.
You were, after all, long past that.

It will be that it wasn’t even
enough for him to
bother to remember.

--Ally Malinenko

Sunday, July 8, 2018


*a quick note.....frequent contributor Thomas. R. Thomas  sent this to me 
and i didn't catch it until now. Still, very timely considering our climate
some 50 years later*

Bobby - June 5, 1968

I remember the night
Bobby got shot

I was watching
the election
that night

too young to vote
old enough to know

I knew his son
was the same
age as me

thirteen was
too young to
carry such a weight

he sat in his
room in Malibu
watching TV

with me
watching with him
fifty miles away

Bobby carried our
hope on his shoulders

and our hope
fell to the floor
as the busboy
held his hand

and I’ve found
it hard to
trust again

--Thomas R. Thomas

Saturday, July 7, 2018


torment of combustion

cold business of assembling death
amassing matches

growing hoard-pile

of sulfur and sticks

in reading books

i beat

pages back

into the

next fire-dodger

stopped by words on paper
wad in a bullet’s path

missile flare

pain is the seventh vital sign
breathing too

(reader is another word for lover)

i’ll cup my hands
and make you a secluded cave
a singing bowl
a new lung

bring you red grapes
sea salt
vigor enough to staunch our wounds

fresh water drink drink
put out the sun

--Paul Koniecki

Friday, July 6, 2018


today is our day

the honkey quasimodo
of brooklyn with his haunch back

holding his cell phone sideways
he lumbers down the street
shouting in his american flag t-shirt

today is our day!
fuck ‘em!
today we eat hot dogs
and watch fireworks!
today is for america!

he’s right…in a way

today is independence day
and two-hundred-and-forty-two-years ago
a rapist slave owner from virginia
did in fact craft a document
declaring american independence
from the british empire

…for some people

but i wouldn’t say today is for all americans

still i wonder who he’s trying
to convince on the other line
with his clich├ęs and platitudes

who does this blanco hombre know
that might be questioning
the legitimacy of this day?

someone that he feels
he has to shout down on a cell phone
on his way for star-spangled cupcakes and the new york post?

people know all kinds of people
even i still know a few republicans

but this guy and his ilk
they don’t seem the type that needs convincing
on this day of days

his hypocrisy is a known fact

it sits under heavily guarded glass in washington d.c.
it’s given parades and sales on mattresses and cars

it gets to set the world on fire
then shrugs its shoulders and declare its innocence

he’s the type who gets to lumber down streets
shouting into his phone
about hot dogs and fireworks

gets to gleefully tell people who don’t look like him
who don’t think like him
to get fucked

this jerk-off gets to spend a lifetime
draped in the american flag
blissfully unscathed by american cruelty

never has to worry about being seen as other

the sad fact of the matter is
today is his day
every day is his day

it’s his universe and his world

and most people just get to live in it
as best they can

without getting buried under
all that freedom.

--John Grochalski



Thursday, July 5, 2018


“If Kids Don’t Eat in Peace, You Don’t Eat in Peace”

-chanted by protesters Friday June 22, 2018 at Kirstjen Nielson, Trump’s secretary of Homeland Security, at an upscale Mexican restaurant 

The thing you must know
and must not forget
is that for much of history
the calls for civility have been used
to crush civil rights.

We cannot ring our hands over nazis
because we should all know that it is
always okay
and necessary
and vital
to reject
professional bigots.

We cannot faint over calls to call them out
on the streets
in restaurants
in the White House
This is not a time that needs to bend to proper.

The reason the term Tender Age Shelters
turns red hot in your mouth
before souring in your stomach

is because of the word


tender like the underside of soft brown baby toes
tender like the fine thin bones in small necks
tender like the flower bud lips that open and close in sleep
tender like your eardrum that hears them crying
tender like back of your eyes each morning
as a new set of atrocities are laid bare.
Tender like your heart each time another white person
cries, this is not who we are.
Tender like the ears of a Black woman who has known her whole life
this is
who we are.

Right now.
Right now.
But you should remember that in
the next day
the next minute
even in the next second
you do not have to be civil anymore.

You can save what you can
and lower the lifeboats.

until you find
that new shore.

--Ally Malinenko

Wednesday, July 4, 2018


the old man at the corner

the old man at the corner
hates this red light

it’s imperiling his freedom

his car is almost a block long
it’s sucking out black smoke
while he’s sucking gray smoke out of cigar

he’s blasting the star-spangled banner
the way teenagers blast rap

but he has an indignant look on his face
instead of the smirk of life-long privilege
that his type usually wears around on patriotic holidays

maybe it’s the rain and the wind
maybe it’s the mexicans outside the grocery
laughing and speaking spanish as they haul
more corn and watermelon from a graffiti-covered truck

whatever it is that’s bothering him
it’s making me feel sad and cautious

old white men idling at corners
shouldn’t look so down on the fourth of july

it’s like seeing a sad kid at christmas

christ, if old white men can’t enjoy the day
what hope do the rest of us have here?

i watch him waiting for the light to turn
glaring up at that neon and red communist ball of light
as the star-spangled banner reaches its crescendo

i think maybe i should skip the booze store
run across the street and try my best to cheer him up

together we could recite the declaration of independence
reminisce about the good old days
tell our best reagan story

but suddenly the streetlight
turns that familiar sea foam green

and the old man at the corner is gone with a horn blast

the opening bars of oh, beautiful
coming out of his big hunk of detroit wonder

as the sky breaks
and the sun trickles along the pavement

as if saying
there’s still hope for america

--John Grochalski


Tuesday, July 3, 2018



With no frail ego that needs shoring up
by pulverising those with different views,
no love for money, power, influence,
no wish to be a headline in the news,

taught by my mother that my home was Earth,
that borders are created, people real,
loving colour, language and diversity,
preferring not the known, but what we feel,

I sank into a deep gloom watching Trump
campaign to take the White House, then get in.
His first year taught me that the triumph's mine,
since I will never, ever be like him.

--Bruce Hodder

Monday, July 2, 2018


the high cost of dying
lays heavy on the page
limp in my hand

afraid this crushing
debt will come
crashing in on me

afraid of weighing
her living with the
price of her dying

and I look in her eyes
and hope she never
sees my fear

lying in her bed
full of wires, tubes
fighting to breathe

--Thomas R. Thomas

Sunday, July 1, 2018


Politics 104

A piece of shit went to a costume party
wearing nothing at all.
"What are you supposed to be?"
"Donald Trump."
"But you're just a piece of shit!"

--Steven B. Smith