Friday, August 31, 2018


there's a new religion in town
the faithful gather in large halls
chant familiar slogans
the evangelist preacher
with a broad grin, adored
by his loving fans
preaches familiar phrases
we must defeat the enemy
we must not let him prevail

the crowd chants
We love you, we adore you
Save us from the enemy
Do you love us?

he smiles and says
I love you all
but he cannot love them
he has only one love
his odd orange ugly
smug grinning face
he loves the adoration
of the crowd
and anyone who
opposes him
he must crush
he fires up the crowd
kill them all, kill them all

--Thomas R. Thomas

Thursday, August 30, 2018


Looking for an Old Horn

In the past, it is said, we had fins, we had wings. Memory is
A phantom limb; we swim, we fly. How we got to the top of
Babel doesn’t matter. What we do from here on out is all.

After 30 years, the child in you rises up before me with a tilt
Of the head, in a nervous bit of laughter, a lack of attention,
A shy, young one longing so much to return. But to where?

The master poet, Ghalib, said if you don’t drink or gamble,
Haven’t had a lover beat you with a slipper, or spent a night
In jail, you’re no poet. Yup, he’s right and we ought to know.

Friend, have you searched lately in the bottom of that neglected
Closet, among the bric-a-brac and faded clothes and looked for
That old horn? Why? Well, there’s a wall needs coming down.

What was the mountain thinking when Mohammed called?
Wait, did you say mountains think, Donald? Yes, of course,
Of course, otherwise why ever would Mohammad go to it?

The blue morning glory twirling around yellow caution tape
Is another form of prayer. My beloveds, with one warm deep
Sigh, we will rise above the trees, we will change this world.

--Don Wentworth

Wednesday, August 29, 2018


There is a Bar

There is a bar out west
that offers special drinks
for women
and not the kind that most
bars offer on
ladies night

but the kind that signals you need help.
It was invented by the bartender
who is, of course, a woman
and they are called angel shots

you can get them neat, or on the rocks, or with a lime.
Neat means you would like the bartender to call you a cab
because your date is not going well.
On ice is for an uber or a lyft
but a lime means you want the bartender
to call the police.

Because your date is not going well.

And there are signs in the women’s room
letting you know what your options are
and this is a good thing, I think,
telling my husband on the street
and he thinks so too
and we are both weirdly proud
of this woman and her plan to help keep women safe
and it isn’t until later
at night
when we are going to sleep
and I think about these drinks again
and the panic settles into my chest
squeezing my heart and lungs
so that I can barely breathe
and all I can see when I close my eyes

are girls
in body bags.

--Ally Malinenko

Tuesday, August 28, 2018


american groupthink and apple pie

it happened
at school pep rallies mostly
or on the school bus
going to the football game

the dozens
or the hundreds of them breaking into
school chants
or battle cries
then usa! usa! usa!

sounding like ravenous nazis on the prowl

you could only look around
in fear and wonder

at their red faces
the spittle coming out of their mouths
their fists moving like hammers

the blind capitulation
to conformity

american groupthink and apple pie

as they chanted the same doggerel
over and over again
like it was coming from their hearts

so it is no wonder
to see them all now as adults

pasty-faced and flabby
fat from the heartland

the mendacity of exceptionalism on stolen land

still chanting
but this time for crooked politicians

still caught up
in the same stupid orthodoxy

that has kept them
shackled to the many

the very blood and soil
that has been strangling
the essence of their humanity

since birth.

--John Grochalski

Monday, August 27, 2018



To unsee
Mammon, the son of the Devil, is a
certain kind of task.

Ridding yourself of

the smell of pine in your brain
and your
nose and your memory

Love & Hate use
memory the most. We propped

we braced, we buttressed, the Prince
of Coins insidious and mouthful.
No words

metal on metal, paper on paper, fire
on skin.
Chewing, dribbling, drooling,

blathering, Apollo’s Arrow is required,
but this son is real. If you have faith
in life

and waking up tomorrow,
the color
red absorbs all other colors but blood.

--Paul Koniecki

Sunday, August 26, 2018



Knocking at the door, there’s a couple burly looking, simian types.
In uniform.
It’s ICE.
Is this the residence of a Mr. Jay Stephan Passer?
Do you live here alone sir?
Who’s asking?
Immigration and Customs Enforcement, sir. Are you here alone?
Got some house plants.
We have on plausible intelligence that there is, as the ICE guy pokes and prods at his flatscreen electronic device, a Victor Emilio Chavez von Zeppelin II habituating the premise?
A who? Are you kidding me?
Quite serious, sir. Now ICE man is looking over my shoulder.
There’s nobody here by that name. Unless you’re looking for my cat.
Your what?
My CAT. Feline? Pet? Four-legged, furry, with a tail? Likes to lap milk?
Please sir, remain calm.
I’m perfectly calm! What is this? You’re here trying to deport my cat? Who is by the way a perfectly law-abiding citizen.
Just following protocol, sir, simply routine.
The two ICE guys exchange glances; grim, sympathetic, final.
For all I know, there’s miniature surreptitious cameras
shoved up my unsuspecting asshole.
Zeppelin II struts up to the door.
Speak of the devil, here’s your culprit, the accused, your assassin!
Sir! I asked you to PLEASE REMAIN CALM!
I’m standing there, thinking.
I mean, this kinda thing happens every day, right?
He’s not pedigreed, he’s a rescue. Nursed him back to health. With tuna fish. And a constant drip in the sink.
Excuse me?
We’ll need proof of his place of birth.
You mean is he a Mexican cat? Dominican? Canadian? Fuck sakes, this is San Francisco! Sanctuary city!
Native-born English speaker, then?
Cat, the cat speaks cat. That’s what cats speak. Cat.
The burlier ICE guy puffs up. His face slackens, his acne reddens, shines, vibrates. It’s not a pretty sight.
Yes, sir! My cat is fluent in meow! Especially when I fry a bit of liver!
The ICE men’s eyes flit and fly around in their sockets. I’m a little worried these old boys are about to embark on some medieval fascist route.
Zeppelin II sidles by my legs, suddenly tenses, then streaks out the door.
Saves the day in the hallway.
He’s pulled down a rat,
almost his own size.
The ICE man nods accordingly.
That’s what happens, he says, to the opposition.

--Jay Passer

Saturday, August 25, 2018


                                      A Hymn for the Surveillance State

walking into the dollar store
sign on the door says
this location is under video
surveillance for your protection
                     for your safety

I see these signs more often
It’s like they weren’t here
then like magic they are

safety is an illusion
our lives and the world
we live in are reflections
of the universe we live in
and the universe is chaos

we try and make order
from chaos in order
to make sense of our lives
we believe we have control
but the reality is simple
we only have a modicum of control

the reality is simple
this is a police state
this is a surveillance state
fascism and totalitarianism
are in full bloom

we trade freedom
we trade our rights
for the illusion of safety

as humans
we are free
as Americans
we are decidedly not free

--Jason Baldinger

Friday, August 24, 2018


Piss City

San Francisco used to be Piss City
no bathrooms
every alley a yellow creek
Now it’s Shit City
morale is low
and the homeless are tired
of scrounging 97ȼ
for a small fries
so they can crap at McDonalds
Yep, those brown piles
aren’t from dogs
I didn’t know
we had things so good
back in the Piss City days
but now I guess
we all know better.

--Jon Bennett

Thursday, August 23, 2018


Omarosa, Omarosa

By Suzy Tenenbaum

Worked in hell where she did revel
Now shares secrets of the devil.

Sang his praises and got hired
Upset Kelly, then got fired.

President Clueless didn’t know
Then put on a tweet storm show.

Omarosa, keep on talking
Tell us tales of those you’re stalking.

Put out some tapes I’d like to hear
Whisper in my own sweet ear.

I’d love to hear a new conversation
About the Russian operation.

This dirt you share is satisfying
Another look at who is lying.

Omarosa we can’t trust you
Even if your words are true.

You’ll burn out soon, I’d place a bet
But look away—I can’t just yet.
Bring him down, tell us more
That gets him closer to the door.

Out you both go to the dump

Omarosa and her guide dog trump.


Wednesday, August 22, 2018


A Horrible Case of the DTs

I was walking in the Presidio
road bikes all over
girl comes along, up, up, up
she’s sobbing
peddling and sobbing
Later, a lady going to work
at Next Door, the big homeless shelter
fresh faced, tidy,
name badge dangling
and she’s in tears
I’d say, “People! Do that shit
at home!”
but I’m sure
they’re doing it there,

--Jon Bennett

Tuesday, August 21, 2018


She’s Full of Lies, No Doubt

- a New York Times comments section found poem from the article on Asia Argento, a voice of #MeToo settling with her accuser

but also
is this man kidding?
Why did he meet her in a hotel room?
that’s the usual place to have sex isn’t it?
And when he saw where things were going
he could have gotten up and walked out the door.

I find it hard to believe Bennnet at all,
for some reason the fact that he was seventeen was
no concern
And it’s rape at 17 because he’s helpless and immature
but, magically becomes a man at 18
What a laugh
probably was the best day of his life.

And this is the end of the Me Too
movement and good riddance
that whole thing was a witch hunt anyway
if you don’t want to play the game,
don’t go to the hotel room
is all I’m saying.

And more importantly
screw her and her hypocrisy
and let’s be honest he probably wanted it
but the bigger issues
is that this MUST
be why we lost

--Ally Malinenko

Monday, August 20, 2018


                                    Another Day in America

there’s a man on Douglas
looking up at the sky
as I get closer, he makes
eye contact says
have you ever seen
anything like that?

points at three helicopters
he says there was a gunfight
on the street corner
over the hill
the choppers
are looking
for the shooter
he wonders
how they’ll find them

I nod, think about a friend
who texted this afternoon
said her building was on lockdown
an active shooter situation outside

it should be disturbing
but this is just another
day in America

--Jason Baldinger

Sunday, August 19, 2018



                                             photo by John Grochalski

Saturday, August 18, 2018


the modern office
a tribute to corporations 

torture comes
in many forms
power preys

the more petty
the power the more
intimate the murder

killing in small degrees
he draws blood in
whispers and threats

in small cuts the
modern inquisitor
present with power

over just a few victims
holding hostage
future livelihood

the modern murderer
kills with a smile
a pretense of benevolence

--Thomas R. Thomas

Friday, August 17, 2018



the Obama years
replay like Miles Ahead compared to
the tawdry showband noise
blaring from the Trump Casino

--Chuck Joy

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*