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

Friday, July 27, 2018


What’s so surprising to me
(but maybe shouldn’t be)
is how many apparent
zombie-like people
are walking around
in the dark today,
regurgitating words they
don’t really believe, deep down,
planting their feet,
tilting their heads,
feeding on the brains
of a leader who sows
discord, enmity, and the
bitter seeds of an
underground hate.

One thing you learn
when you grow up in a
family like mine is
how to spot a bullshitter,
how to discern the lie,
how not to become
a zombie feeding on
fear and deceit.

Thanks for the lesson, [redacted].

(Childhood Trauma Wins This Time)

--Rachel Toalson

Thursday, July 26, 2018


Men and Women

Behind their guns
are beatings.
Behind their weapon caches
are women
whose stories
involved punching
and being thrown down the stairs
and being run over.
Sometimes they shoot us.
They are, after all
the number one threat to our lives
But sometimes
they shoot you too.
they shoot everyone.

--Ally Malinenko

Wednesday, July 25, 2018


                     There’s a Hole in my Heart where the Rustbelt was Born
                                               (for Matt and Mark Borczon)

seagulls kite the backdrop
of a white blue sky
then drop around
the Methodist Tower
cross above the Boston Store
the Palace, the Renaissance
then circle round the Warner
to the YMCA then out of sight
around me on the seventh
floor of the Avalon

I walk State. Saturday night
streets are empty. across vacant lots
I count the steeples of three
churches backlit, fading
there’s a wedding in the brewery
at the old train station
there was another
as I left the hotel

they have a beer on tap
named for a woman
who died tragically
they say she still haunts
the back stairwell
another memory
held, desperate
not to be forgotten

then again maybe it’s all memories
I drive down 12th
with its vacant warehouses
Dowling’s Tavern looks to collapse
there’s a mural that depicts
the industry this city was known for
that industry is dead

there is hole in my childhood
where the rustbelt was born
my first memories coming
as the steel industries pulled out
of Pittsburgh. so many brokeback
hunkies shell shocked, not comprehending
the dream was over. the white dresses
soot black by two in the afternoon
gone, the smog cleared and no better
America was found. people left
people killed themselves
people went back to work
maybe it was how it always was
maybe the desperation was only setting in

as I travel around the country
it’s what I look for
my memories of childhood
come to life. Nostalgia to be sure
I find it in cities everywhere
in cities like
Erie, Cleveland, Rochester
Detroit, Youngstown, Birmingham
Milwaukee and more
I’m looking backwards in the ruin

they call it rustbelt pornography
they call it ruin porn
but the only thing dirty
about it is we let it happen
we let the rich slowly rob us
take away our livelihoods, allow us no
option but struggle. the narrative
for our generations are the same
we are lazy this is why we’re poor

I don’t know, the people I know
hustle to make ends meet
the people I know make art
to make some kind of soul
out of their America. the myth
of the dream was just that
just like the myth that there’s
always a job if you work hard
if you behave

we have a presidency that sells
make America great again
as a tag, but there has never
been an investment in America
or the equality of Americans
the poor have always been taught
to fight each other, because of skin
because of jobs, because of a hierarchy
that was put in place
to keep us from looking up
at those above who watch
us steal the crumbs

there is a hole in my heart
where the rustbelt formed
tonight, State street sleeps
uneasy and desperate
the seagulls are laughing
we share memories of America
that was never made of us
that was never made for me

--Jason Baldinger

Tuesday, July 24, 2018


Hemingway's Cafe 7.10.18

Two quarters on the bar top and the leisurely drumbeat
of a stranger's hands adding counterpoint to a midweek
doubleheader. I'm here for the air conditioning
and the bartender's disinterest. I'm here because there's
nowhere else to go. I'm not yet drunk enough to be
so maudlin and yet. I wish I was old enough to have
outgrown the worry. In my mid-forties and I might as well
be a newborn as far as that goes. Too often I'm overcome
by all the junk in my head that I could pass on to my son.
Looking at the state of things, though, I suppose
that should be the least of my worries. I take a moment
every day now to ask whatever the hell is out there to ask
that he isn't too disappointed. With me, with this country.
With the foolishness that passes for our days and all of the lies
we insist on telling ourselves about ourselves. The other night
I dreamt he was here with me at the bar. Just a boy and proud
to be with his father. He tried to steal sips of my beer,
and his mouth was wide with so much loud laughter. My son.
What a wonderful dream. There are children right now lost
across these divided states who may never see their fathers
and mothers again in this life. They are made to sleep
in cages. Some are beaten, some raped. All are weeping.
In the dream my son is kind. He is generous to me.
Not once does he ask, What did you do to stop this?

Kristofer Collins is a writer living in Pittsburgh.

Monday, July 23, 2018


Excited today to have new WineDrunk Contributor Veronica Bishop
and her fantastic essay Justice is a Verb

You can find the essay right HERE

Sunday, July 22, 2018


In the Future
After Terence Blanchard and the E-collective’s “Diamonds and Pearls”

I imagine that I am listening
to this song in the future.
The trumpeter with a gilded buzzcut

and matching baggy leather pants comes

from beyond our time’s
military drumbeat and acid reflux.

We may be old in his time.
We may die soon,
but we have survived

to see this man play
a song from when the present
wasn’t so bad.

I remember listening to
Prince’s version,
feeling hope that spring of 1992

as I walked home from
the New York subway
past the produce store

with its bunches of yellow flowers

and its owners who already
knew me, past enormous houses

with buffers of forsythia.

Then I knew I could live
through all that

I had experienced the year before.

I didn’t realize that
I would live through worse soon

and we are living through much worse now.

But just as I felt hope
listening to Prince’s song
I want to feel hope again.

--Marianne Szlyk

Saturday, July 21, 2018


If a grown man
is intimidated by me
even though it is not
my intention,
is that my fault?

Some men will always
be intimidated by
persistent women.

Some men
don’t like
knowing a woman
can see right
through them.

Some men can’t comfortably
sit with the truth that perhaps
they are wrong, particularly when
it is pointed out
by a woman.

Comfort is not
my responsibility.
So I will continue being a
persistent woman.

(Dear [Redacted]: Women Are Worth Listening To)

--Rachel Toalson