Tuesday, March 31, 2020


            "If any blame or fault attaches to the attempt it is mine alone,"

                                Eisenhower wrote the night before D-Day.

                                              "I don't take responsibility at all,"
                                Trump says of his handling of the coronavirus pandemic

                                         --Steven B. Smith

Monday, March 30, 2020



In this time of virus the news and
The places I search for my muse
Vie for attention

Attention is a ragged thing
Torn by fear and disgust
For the time

I hear the sparring words of our sitting President
Pushing platitudes and racism
Pointing our attitudes toward despair

I cannot bear to
Leave my attention there
I turn to prayer

Read the Daily Office
Seeking breaths of fresh air
In a language long dead

That yet helps me to recall the anguish
Of recent plagues and plagues
Of centuries past

It is not the virus that haunts my thoughts
But the decay of democracy and decency
That makes me long to be free of America

To escape the pain I go
For a walk in the rain
Through the wetlands

By the Napa RIver
I maintain social distance from my neighbors
Converse with birds and watch

As the fowl glide indifferently by

--Charles Kruger

Sunday, March 29, 2020


The Epidemic Within the Pandemic

As the pandemic’s numbers double
on the tote board like the national debt,
the United States already was fighting
an infectious epidemic. A virulent strain

Where more citizens were susceptible
than estimated and were contaminated by
the xenophobia, racism, and distrust of science
spewed by patient zero, the president.
These strains have infected political discourse
with his toxic word salad sprinkled with
long-discounted narratives, a tortured
national mythology, to feed the fascist hunger.

He believes in the church of make-believe
where our lives and this country are mere
foils in his reality tv series with
the next episode now streaming:
“Desperate for an enemy: Pandemic.”
With the log line: Believing he is
worthy of being a wartime president,
DJT usurps more power, but fails to use it
and remains oblivious the military
has been engaged in a War on Terror,
since he took office.

With script and prompter, he stands in front
of the world with a wrecking ball of false hope,
lies and non-sequitur attacks.
Like Marie Antionette, he dismisses his charge
with a wave, “try getting them yourselves”
as though he were running late for a tee time
and Ivanka and Jarod asked him to buy a cake,
only to grudgingly offer assistance.

While not the first president to inherent
an unexpected flex point in history, he is
the first to adamantly declare
the buck stops elsewhere.
What war crimes await at the end
of your series, Mr. War President?
The very real responsibility of snuffing
more lives unnecessarily because
of his carelessness and antipathy
towards the suffering, like those
on the border before the pandemic,
Now it will be the soldiers
of medicine who battle without
enough personal protection
equipment, and other necessary
weapons to flatten the curve.

War should galvanize a nation
where citizens’ sacrifices work
in concert with federal power.
Instead, we are left singing
alone for crumbs of compassion
of a heartless wanna-be dictator.

Should we still be surprised?
Three years and a half years in?
Nearly 250 years in?
Our national health confronts
this epidemic every generation
when the established power is
threatened. It infects by with-
holding the healing medicine
and instead resorts to ramping
fear addled lies over truth.

Today, all of us are susceptible
with every cough, fever, sneeze
or runny nose. Today
we are the “other” for being
too something in the white, rich
man’s last heartless gasp of control.

Justice continues be fought for
by those willing to take a bullet,
to be beaten, and to not hide
behind daddy’s money.
People bravely working
shoulder to shoulder
to bridge the social distances
Mr. War President longs to torch.

Hunker down, citizen scientists
artists and entrepreneurs.
Get to work at home in your
garages, basements, and kitchen
tables. Build respirators, ventilators
or better yet vaccines to stop these viruses
and heal a country struggling for breath.

--Tom Lagasse

Saturday, March 28, 2020


the recession virus blues

it's strange it's the same feeling
every time. whether you want
the job, whether you were ready
to quit, whether the next job
is waiting. when you hear it
again, laid off... laid off

it's that feeling of watery knees
the way the room blurs
instantly if only a second
the air busts out of lungs
desperate not to be trapped
you walk in circles, listless
an imposed value snuffed

its grimly funny, I don't identify
my life and my work together
I consider myself an artist
who works to maintain
the goal of making art
that I don't make money from

I don't identify my life with my job
but in these desperate times
it's clear we are vessels
to a system that expects two things
produce and consume

what happens when both
streams dry up?

a friend texted
the apocalypse
is only one very
long business meeting

she's right, like filing
for unemployment in the nineties
first of the morning forms
then looking at a bulletin board
of losing manufacturing jobs
write down the job numbers
to apply for while waiting
endlessly for an interview
a determination to come

every morning more birds
chorus out my bedroom window
I hear an intermittent slow century
of traffic, I have nowhere to be
sorry to say son, but right now
I am not capital and capitalism
has no use for me

--Jason Baldinger

Friday, March 27, 2020


Before Corona

Before Corona
she thought
in activities
by the elderly,
poetry readings
bible studies
aqua fitness,
would insure
those habits
would continue
in the future.
After corona
she wonders
if her mere
presence could
kill them off.

--Beth Gulley

Thursday, March 26, 2020



They'll talk to you of freedom
Such a invaluable, inviolable right.
You're free just like everyone else
You're free to be just like everyone else.
It's when you try to be yourself
You'll see just how free you are.
They'll throw you in jail just for
Using a different intoxicant than
The one that they grudgingly allow
You to use. Indoctrinated by your
Education, fooled and lied to by the media,
Until no one even questions how
Our one and only life is spent slaving
To make money for others.
Yet we're constantly told how lucky
We are to have democracy and

--Ian Copestick

Wednesday, March 25, 2020



                                          Photography by John Grochalski

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

excerpt from The Poet

Hello all...since most of us are in some kind of quarentine and a lot of us are doing that in apartments with loud asshole neighbors...i tehought i'd post a chapter from my last Rand novel, The Poet. I'm still hoping it comes out this year at some point before the election...but this year...

anyway, The Poet is set from October 2015 to around the spring of 2016. Rand Wyndham is once again a librarian in Brooklyn and is a working artist with a small cadre of poet friends and a possible steady girlfriend. The book also has an underlying political vibe in that there's climate change issues and one Orange-Colored Billionaire running for president.

The chapter I'm posting here is one in which Rand is up early in the morning trying to write in his apartment building but is met with a number of distractions, neighbors, dogs, and distractions he's self-created. Hope this chapter amuses you and maybe makes you laugh.

Take Care Everyone!


I had a sick feeling in my stomach.
I’d been staring at that first sentence for an hour. Why did my character have a sick feeling in his stomach? Was it over a job? A woman? Was it over money? Had he too drank five double vodkas before passing out on his couch? How in the fuck did I know? I was only the asshole who’d sat down at five in morning, still semi-drunk, and wrote those eight ominous words with nothing to back them up. Why in the hell should I know anything? What a load of nothing the morning had turned into. And to think I could’ve been in Larissa Haven-St. Claire’s bed soaking in that strange flowery-sweat scent that her flesh had. I had a sick feeling in my stomach. No shit. It was called failure on all accounts.
            I wasn’t getting anywhere. I was never getting anywhere when it came to fiction. And there were only so many poems that I could write about my job, about people on the bus, about sex and assholes at the grocery store, before I completely exhausted my own small and petty existence. I wiped sweat from my brow. Maybe our hero was worried about the orange-colored billionaire running for president, or climate change, considering it was getting toward deep December and I still had the windows open to try and get some air in the apartment. It was like September outside and kind of frightening. Climate change was enough to make one’s stomach sick.
Then that dog across the street started barking. More moments of my writing morning slipped away. I had a sick feeling in my stomach as the barking echoed all over the street. Maybe the main character was sick to his stomach because he knew that he had to kill that fucking dog. It was the only way for him to maintain his sanity. No Son of Sam shit but more an irritant that had built and built until it blackened his soul, and he went full psycho killer. Americans loved dogs. What could be more conflicting than a guy contemplating killing one?
I had a sick feeling in my stomach. I sat there and stared at that line. The words didn’t sound like genius. They sounded like a dead end. I gave up like I’d been doing lately with fiction, with poetry; forget even bothering with a short story. Carolina had those fuckers all over the internet, and I couldn’t even come up with one microcosm of an idea. Gigi had a new short story every week on her blog. They were full of teenagers saving the planet or government, or whatever bullshit those YA books wanted us to believe other than the fact that most teens were lazy slobs with their heads buried in their fucking cell phones. Jackson woke up and just had to write a poem every day. Even Larissa had a stock of poem prompts that she kept in a notebook.
What did I have?
I went online. I knew who my real master was at that moment. It was online porn. And what would it be that morning to keep me from becoming a literary immortal? Naked Latina women? Black chicks with big asses? MILFs? GILFs? Skinny punky EMO girls with tattoos who reminded me of Carolina from the past? BBWs? Transgendered porn? Transgendered MILF porn? The choices were endless.
Or would it be a celebrity that morning. But which celebrity? A film actress? A pop singer? That chubby but kind of hot comedian? The smart mouthed one who kept trying to take on dramatic roles? That family of reality television stars who had big, huge wonderful asses and were always taking their clothing off? Imagine if I put this much attention and emphasis on my own art. There’d be no stuck at I had a sick feeling in my stomach. I’d be giving the Godfrey Whitt’s of the world a run for their money. I’d be the darling of the New York Times. A Proust in my own beer can stacked room! In every bookstore there’d be a display with my ugly mug staring back at people as they shopped for self-help books and mystery novels. In interviews critics and fangirls and fanboys would ask me how I put out so much writing. Don’t jack off, I’d tell them in a sage-like manner. Instead I found leaked nude photos of that one blonde actress who made those dystopian movies. And away I went.
But then from upstairs the ominous alarm of my fuck-a-thon neighbor went off and I heard a bed squeak. There was an audible groan. A guttural yawn. Then came the pounding across my ceiling to where she, one Molly Brown, kept that heinous clock of hers. She beat the thing into submission with such wrathfulness I swear the four legs on her dresser made my apartment shake. I never felt for an inanimate object the way in which I empathized with that clock.
Molly thumped back to her bed and landed on the mattress with a thud. The muffled voices came. The giggling. Her boyfriend, Chico, a name I self-applied to the man, moved from his spot on the bed and started talking his muffled game. Shit. I started pumping my cock again, faster, staring at that photo of the blonde celebrity naked on all fours. It was a picture that she thought would remain forever private but was hacked in this big celebrity scandal. I begged for it to give me the utmost pleasure. I was running out of time.
“Fuck,” I said, to no one. The springs on Molly’s bed started to go. Then came the moans: Molly on tenor and Chico on bass.
“Fuck me, fuck me,” I could barely hear her say.
“You naugh…,” Chico said, through grunts. “Ah, your pussy, babe.”
I started pumping faster. I could feel myself maybe going limp. Even the blonde celebrity was looking at me with that come on, already, face. I started going, like Chico was going, like Molly wanted him to go. I had to beat that fucking guy. I was practically ripping my dick off, tugging at the fucker through the piss hole in my black pajama bottoms. Every oh and ah and thump from upstairs fueled my need and desperation. I wanted blonde celebrity girl like I’d wanted no one else. I’d never seen any of her shitty movies. I’d read an interview with her once and she sounded like a post-feminist twit who’d piss on Betty Friedan’s grave if given the chance. Blonde celebrity girl didn’t believe in feminism. It was hard to believe in feminism when you were pulling down twenty-five million a film. But she didn’t shave her pussy either. So whatever ethos she believed in was fine with me.
“Oh Christ,” I said, as I shot my load.
“Oh,” Chico moaned, at almost the same time.
Then it was silent save that asshole dog barking. I went to grab an old tissue to clean up the mess on the floor. Only there was no mess on the floor. In my race against Chico and time I’d managed to come all over the crotch of my pajamas. I woke up trying for art and glory and I ended up splooging all over myself. How in the fuck had I convinced Larissa to date me? Blonde celebrity was looking at me like, seriously, dude. She’d probably win another Oscar next year, while I’d be lucky to keep my job and hold my book of poems. As I sat there in my messy shame, Molly and Chico began turning their afterglow into the day’s argument. They fucked and then they argued. The radio started blaring mid-eighties pop from their whack-job next door neighbor’s apartment. Walls were pounded upon. It wasn’t even six-thirty yet.
“You bitch,” Chico said. Molly muffled something back and then pounded off of her bed.  Chico followed and then came the scuffling, thumping noises that often serenaded me in the morning. The neighbor, Gerhardt, had something by Huey Lewis and the News going.
I looked away from cum-covered p.j.s, away from blonde celebrity who was so done with me.
“Come here,” Chico shouted. There was more thumping and pounding from upstairs. Molly muffled something and a door slammed. The Huey Lewis ended from the other apartment with what I could only describe as maybe the sound of a broom poking at the walls. A Starship song came on next.
The door upstairs opened and made a thud against the wall. Molly Brown muffle-screamed something to Chico like, You try this every morning. I’m getting sick of you putting it in my…Gerhardt pounded on their wall again. Chico gave a cursory pound on his as well, and the Starship music went up.
Another noise came from upstairs. It sounded like someone got body slammed on Molly’s floor. Without thinking I grabbed my trusty Bobby Bonilla signed baseball and threw it at the ceiling. The fucker came down and almost smashed my monitor. It would’ve been bye bye writing and naked blonde celebrities for me. I picked the ball up and threw it again and again, until Chico or Molly or whomever pounded on my ceiling. I got up from my chair and fixed myself for a fight. Something had to be done about those assholes because assaulting them with musical snippets from the 1980s wasn’t working. I made for my apartment door.
They looked like they were ready to spear each other in the hallway by the time I got to the second floor. Chico was in his wife beater and plaid shorts. He was holding a broom. Gerhardt was already fully dressed for the day in a white t-shirt and faded jeans, and that beat-to-shit Yankees hat he’d been wearing since Mickey Mantle hobbled off the field and forever into a bottle of booze. He was holding his broom too. Both doors to both studio apartments were open. Gerhardt’s radio was still blasting the 1980s. Everybody Wang Chung before the sunrise.
“What in the fuck is going on up here?” I asked. “It’s not even seven in the morning and I gotta hear this shit? I swear to Christ I know people who will turn you all into Soylent Green.”
            “It’s him, bro,” Chico said. Though short in stature the guy was pure muscle and tattoos on his bronze skin. He had one of those spider web ones on his elbow, which was supposed to mean he killed someone in prison. I immediately regretted my decision to engage him in such a hostile manner. It was John Lennon who said, all you need is love and give peace a chance. And I loved John Lennon. And I loved not getting punched in the face by Chico’s with spider web tattoos.
            “So, what the fuck, dude?” I said to Gerhardt instead. Gerhardt was maybe sixty-five, seventy. He smoked so knew I could probably take him.
            “Who you calling, dude, you bum?” he said.
            “Bum?” But a quick look in the blurry hallway mirror was all I needed to confirm his assessment: greasy long hair, pajamas ripped in the crotch, unshaved for two weeks now, blood-red wine stains on a t-shirt that was showing off the man boobs; I was a fucking bum.
            “You were makin’ noise too, man,” Chico said. They both turned their brooms at me.
            “But only because you were making noise,” I said to both of them.
            “I wasn’t doing nuthin’,” Gerhardt said. He pointed a shaking finger at Chico. “Until those two started their morning jackrabbit bullshit.”
            “Mind your own business, old man,” Chico said.
            Molly Brown appeared in the doorway. She was dressed in a plain aqua robe that went to her thighs. She looked about as plump and oversexed as always when I passed her in the basement or suffered her cell phone rants while we were both stuck doing laundry. She was the kind for whom cherry-red lipstick and fire engine red hair dye would always exist together in a perfect symbiosis. I’d spent the first months in my apartment jacking it to her and plotting to make my move…until Chico moved in. “What kind of a pervert listens to people?”
            “You think I wanna listen to you two?” Gerhardt said. He taped the wall with his broom. “These walls are like paper.”
            “I can hear you downstairs too,” I said.
            Molly gave me a dirty, disgusted look. Coincidentally it was the very same look she had in my head those times I mentally mounted her and went to town. She looked like she knew some shit the other ladies had missed out on. Chico looked a satisfied man, despite his mostly unfulfilled penchant for anal sex. “You sit down there listening to us too?”
            “Yeah, I’m recording you for the government,” I said.
            “And oh my God look at you.” She pointed down to the crotch of my pajamas that I’d forgotten were covered in my jism. It now looked like a grayish Pollock splotch. “You are a pervert.”
            “You jerkin off to us, man?” Chico said.
“No,” I said. But they were all looking. Even Gerhardt looked. When we made eye contact, he frowned. “It…it was the actress from those films.”
Chico kept his broom on me. “What fucking movies?”
“The dystopia ones,” I said. That garnered a queer look from all present. “The ones where they battle for food in the future?”
“I love those movies,” Chico said. “And she’s hot.”
“Hollywood crap,” Gerhardt said.
“Um, excuse me,” Molly said. “But…cum-covered p.j.s.”
Chico shook his broom at me. “What the fucking fuck, perv?”
“I’m not listening to you,” I said. “I’m down there, yes. But I’m trying to get work done.”
“Work?” Molly said, like she’d never heard the word before. “What kind of work are you doing this early?”
“Writing,” I said.
“Writing?” They all said.
“Poetry and fiction; the occasional anonymous rant on some perky, flaxen-haired memoirist’s blog.”
All three of them laughed. And not like little snorts, but real belly laughter. Chico bent back so far he nearly scraped his broom off the ceiling. “Poetry,” Gerhardt spat.
“You a big artist, bro?” Chico said. “We got a big-shit artist living here?”
“I’m a librarian,” I said.
“Librarian!” They all howled again.
“You’re just making that up,” Molly said, coming up for air. She looked at Chico and shit got real again. “There ain’t no li-barians. The li-baries are all dying because of the internet. You know he sits down there jerking off to us. Look at him. He probably looks up teenage girls on Facebook and masturbates to them too. You think a guy like that is a poem writer and li-barian?” Molly turned to me. “I might not know your name, but I know all about you. I’ve seen you in the basement dumping all of those plastic vodka bottles and those magnum bottles of wine. Writer? Li-barian? Li-barian-writer my ass. You’re just a drunk, dude.”
“I’m currently partial to being called a rummy,” I said.
“Plastic vodka,” Gerhardt spat.
“At least I’m a guy who prefers his morning’s quiet,” I said.
“You need to get yourself a chick, bro,” Chico said. “Like get laid.”
“I have a sort-of girlfriend.” Molly rolled her eyes.
“Bum,” Gerhardt muttered.
This was not going down as I expected. Insulted for my art as well. Molly Brown’s words were like salt thrown on a gaping wound. I should’ve stayed in my room with my cum-stained pants and let those barbarians kill each other with fuck sounds and radio noise. Eventually the population would thin itself out. Or the orange-faced billionaire would become president and round us all up and throw us into camps where art wouldn’t matter anyway when we actually were fighting for food. America was a Hans Fallada novel waiting to happen. And what was wrong with plastic vodka bottles? We couldn’t all be Hiltons.
“Look, I get up every morning at five and write,” I finally said. “At least I try to. But usually there’s noise. There’s that fucking dog. Eventually there’s your alarm clock. And then whatever the fuck you two do. Then come the arguments.” I pointed at Gerhardt. “And then Wolfman Jack over here gets into the act.”
“I hate that fucking dog,” Gerhardt said.
“I’d fricassee his ass, man,” Chico said.
“But you see where I’m going with this?” I said.
Molly gave me another hateful glare. “Yeah, you want everyone in this building to tiptoe around you, Mr. Drunken Writer-Li-barian. So you can create.”
“I wouldn’t mind it if the three of you shut the fuck up, so me and the rest of the building could sleep in at times.”
“How noble,” Gerhardt said. “He’s a noble bum.”
Chico laughed. If anything, I was building an uneasy alliance between these people. “If you’re such a big shot writer why haven’t we heard of you?”
“It doesn’t work like that,” I said. “This isn’t pop music. Writing takes years and years, and sometimes you never really get anywhere.”
“Sounds like a waste of time,” Gerhardt said.
“Try selling wine,” I said. But he was most likely right.
“Do you even have a book?” Chico said. “Like Stephen King.”
“Yes…well…sort of.”
“Can I buy it?” Molly said. “On like Amazon.”
“Not yet,” I said.
“You’re full of shit then.”
Artist,” Chico said. He finally put his broom down. “You look like a fat faggot.”
“Poetry,” Gerhardt said. He put his broom down and waved us all away like a bad dream. He went back inside his carpet-laden apartment and slammed the door. The 1980s music finally stopped.
“Could you guys just be quieter?” I said.
“Whatever, bro,” Chico said. He went back inside the black hole of Molly’s apartment, leaving just her and me in the hallway.
“I used to draw,” Molly finally said.
“Then you sort of understand,” I said.
“When I was like fourteen I drew.” She went inside the apartment, with a quick flash of her ass, before she turned back to face me. “And then I had to grow up and get a fucking life.”
“I have a …” But Molly slammed the door in my face, before I could say anything.


Happy Hour in a Time Of Coronavirus

Best pick up lines
are wasted
on Skye-

during virtual
happy hours

with Lillet
instead of

A real twist
of peeled lemon

at home
where the booze

Were rebate
checks in
the mail

for well drinks
and cocktail specials
we could not
order in person
at the bar?

We eagerly await
your reply

--Alan Catlin

Monday, March 23, 2020


my natural inclination
to avoid humans is now encouraged
thank you COVID-19

--Thomas R. Thomas

Sunday, March 22, 2020


Faux News

Propaganda bots gaslight,
spew disinformation that jeopardizes
health, sanity, nation.
David Plouffe accuses talking heads
of providing Cretin-in-Chief
his own media Westworld.

During a TV interview,
IMPOTUS III urges sick Americans
to report to work as he
considers coronavirus mild,
not pandemic, just a public relations threat
dreamed up by disgruntled Democrats.

The butcher’s bill rises,
stock market crashes.
Retailers sell out of masks and Purell.
Fatalities occur in Washington, California.
Test kits are flawed and in short supply,
WHO doctors contradicted, CDC muzzled.

--Jennifer Lagier

Saturday, March 21, 2020



The tone deaf informator choristarum in chief
makes the announcement, cueing the choir.
Half the grand room sings laud to the honoree,
erupting in cheers as the hate-filled, fearful,
sack of puss so honored rises to his feet.
The fully-dressed and paid for third spouse
rises beside the honoree, brandishing the
medal on a wide ribbon in both hands.
She gingerly places it around his neck like a
string of pearls longing to be a noose.
He basks in waves of approval, appreciation
for the decades of speaking out loud those
thoughts which the more discreet among them,
the cowards, have always kept to themselves
but which have now been officially sanctioned
in this greatest hall of democracy, congress.

Former recipients look on from the beyond
disgusted, sullied by the newly forged connection
between their accomplishments and his bile.
Edmund Wilson, Edward R. Murrow, Ralph Ellison
search for ways to disassociate themselves.
Pablo Casals, Duke Ellington, Arthur Rubinstein
try to play loud enough to drown him out.
While Helen Keller, Rosa Parks, Harvey Milk
turn their backs and walk away slowly.

But not everyone disapproves:
T. S. Eliot smiles when he thinks no one can see;
Milton Friedman clears a place for him to sit;
and Charlton Heston wonders what took so long.

The current resident of the White House has
awarded a Medal of Freedom to a proud and loud
racist, xenophobe, homophobe, and misogynist
and I just can’t laugh about it anymore.

--M.J. Arcangelini

Friday, March 20, 2020



are closing
the liquor
stores the
strip malls
the mouths
of babes
the eyes
of angels
and the
voice of
God they
place six
feet between
babies and
their mothers
men and
their reason
a fool
and his money
they have
sold out
all the
toilet paper
the hand
the cleaning
products and
the common
sense the
human decency
the personal
freedom and
the right
to choose
they took
all we
learned the
to put
a man
on the
moon and
used it
to build
us all
a cage
that looks
like our

--Matt Borczon

Thursday, March 19, 2020


eating a cheeseburger during the end times

the bar has
most of its televisions
turned to fox business channel

except for one playing
a mets/nationals game
from last year

the men in the bar
are watching the stock market crash

again and again

with as rapt attention
as they would ESPN

tomorrow the world is on lockdown

and this bar will be closed
like thousands of others

while we wait out the pandemic

but today is for eating a cheeseburger
during the end times

as men in the bar complain about the money
they’ll lose on the stock market

instead of maybe losing their health or their lives

men seem to worry
about the most trivial of things
in times of crsis

a week ago i was complaining about my job

yesterday i fought two people
for the last loaf of bread

and screamed to no one about the lack
of toilet paper and black beans

and who in the hell knows
if i’ll have a job to go back to

i probably should be indoors
reading books and hand sanitizing my soul

binge-watching a world
that now looks so foreign to me

but they make a damned good cheeseburger here

and it might be months, if ever,
before i get to have it again

the bartender, ross, is losing his job tomorrow
he just took a bath on disney an hour ago
and got a text that his fiancé lost her job right now

they were planning for a wedding in may

the unraveling is happening in real time
and there is nothing to do or say

but just sit here and wait on it

except for some guy in an FDNY t-shirt
who says…the flu killed more people yesterday

everyone laughs
and nods silently

they go back to watching
the stock market crash on tv

sucking up a trillion in government money

as i clear my second beer
and turn to the year old mets/nationals game

cheering when Juan Soto hit a double

a fool move for sure

but forgetting
forgetting all of this
if only for a moment.

--John Grochalski

Wednesday, March 18, 2020


hunkered in our caves
hidden from the world
hoarding in foolishness

we whisper in
sultry silence

fear grips us
flocking in groups
fools raid the markets

snatching silly
goods in greed

we steal from those
well in need, depriving the
weak—evil grips our souls

--Thomas R. Thomas

Tuesday, March 17, 2020


Question all that he
tells you from atop his coal
tower; it's all lies.

--Robert J.W.

Monday, March 16, 2020


Hog Jowl
(for Meghan T)

Pig in a poke
bacon in a bag
hog jowl in the White House

we are what
we’ve become
or something like that.

--Bart Solarczyk

Sunday, March 15, 2020


Promise Land

Greyhound bound
To Tupperware City
Light like liquid Zen
Wars time, tatters tight
As tight asses tie
Meat neat man to kine, kino
Contempt of course
Playing Plato’s barn

Blue bloods
Stabilize fish at 7
Mime the ma’am
Bamboo cathedrals
In wondrous disarray
Just outside real
Where the fat
Flee frantic
Fleece feed the poor

Competing EXIT signs
Dance specific disease
  Rude crude
  Plus tax
Bouncing Betty’s
Slouching Bethlehem belly
Slips on guilt
 & splinters.

--Steven B. Smith

Saturday, March 14, 2020


the homeless guy outside of my job
doesn’t care about our little pandemic

to use the bathroom

and if we’re closed
he’ll scream and rant and rave

stick his hand down his pants
come up with an armful of shit
and smear it on our door

claim the dog did it
as he runs away from the cops

the homeless guy outside of my job
doesn’t care about our little pandemic

or washing his hands
for twenty seconds
while he hums the ABCs

or where he can get some hand sanitizer
and rubber gloves

how many people are infected
how many people have died

whether or not
the president is incompetent

he wants to use the shitter now
find a place to sleep now

and if he can’t get that?

then he’s content
to spread his feces
like a master baker

all over the glass and door handle

at our outrage
wide enough

so that we can see his one good tooth
in the thick, brown smear

as he stumbles away

a big, dirty infection
a capitalist plague

the original global virus.

--John Grochalski 


Friday, March 13, 2020


a temple to our best possibilities

we batted the word around
paranoid, I wondered
if I should be more paranoid
my friend insisted
it can't happen here

maybe I should have read
more pulp sci-fi
looking for clues
on humanities need
or reason to color
the future so dark

is it true we understand love
in a way that makes us fear it
is it true that somehow
as humans begin
to see this version of humanity
as non-binary
that somehow our thinking
becomes solidly binary
maybe that's more a symptom
of the times, a corporate
branding of information

to look at the future
from 1980, 2000 wasn't so strange
it was religious nonsense
a coming milennia
that was scary

it was easy to see this future
or some version of it it
from twenty years ago
both cases a slow descending
a winnowing down
of freedom, we failed
to call fascism
now authoritarianism blooms

to look ahead, the future
should be a blank space
a blinding light obscuring
perception. it should be
a temple to our best possibilities

humanity is in dire straits
it needs to change course
drastically to remain
a species after this mass
extinction we created passes

as always
we let our hubris lead
yet again our hubris fails
it might not be dark yet
but the future, the temple
of our possibilities, is fading

--Jason Baldinger

Thursday, March 12, 2020


No To War! (Remove Trump)
                                             photography by Ally Malinenko

Wednesday, March 11, 2020


Sociopathic Sucker

“Trump 'could suck coronavirus out of 60,000 people' and he'd still be criticized” –Mike Huckabee
“No need to panic.” –Donald Trump on the day the first U.S. coronavirus death is reported

Cretin-in-chief gathers his lackeys,
orders a panoply of unqualified temps to gaslight,
distract, offer an assortment of conspiracy theories.
He contradicts health officials during an incoherent diatribe.
Claims there’s no pandemic, just overblown hype,
calls coronavirus a new hoax dreamed up by Democrats
to damage the economy, threaten his re-election.

A whistleblower spills the beans about incompetence,
untrained workers exposed to contamination.
Victim numbers escalate with cases reported in
Arizona, Illinois, Massachusetts, Wisconsin,
California, Oregon, Washington.
Community spread replaces direct exposure
as a means of infection.

As the first U.S. death is reported,
our fake president with fake hair, fake tan,
fake names, fake marriage tells Americans
not to worry or panic, he’s considering another tax cut
to counteract the epidemic’s economic impact,
proposes slashing the CDC budget by 16%.

--Jennifer Lagier

Tuesday, March 10, 2020



Trumpty Dumpty thought he had it all
but Trumpty Dumpty's headed for a great fall
his ass in jail after recall

--Steven B. Smith

Monday, March 9, 2020



I watched him die.
I held him in my arms
and saw the life drain
from his frightened eyes.
I watched my fucking best friend die.
They stabbed him five times in the back,
then they ran off through the dark streets laughing.
And now I'm here again, out late,
hands buried in my pockets,
with my hoodie up and walking fast.
Except the streets don’t look the same.
(I watched him die. I watched him die.)
How you gonna keep it straight
when everything you knew has changed?
My best friend Freddy’s eyes, in death,
refuse to let me shut my own.
I lay awake for hours,
staring blankly at the circle
made by damp rot in the ceiling.
Tomorrow I will buy a gun
My plan’s to smear the walls with blood,
my blood, go where it doesn’t hurt.
Every time I lie down
on my fucking bed, Fred dies.

--Bruce Hodder

Sunday, March 8, 2020


the apostles of the right
being the ones who won
this one fight will

rewrite the works
that the party of tRump
has done to prove him right

we must chronicle the dirty deeds
of the followers of tRump
and of the evil man himself

or the truth will lie in the
dustbowl of history
fallow of truth

speak truth
resist fear even
in the face of relentless evil

reveal the dirty deeds of the party
of tRump—be sure to chronicle
their sins—hide them in the

urns of time so in the future
their dirty deeds will be known
and everyone will know the truth

--Thomas R. Thomas

Saturday, March 7, 2020


The Lights of Town

steel rails lit by moonlight
along the serpentine path,
the backside of society
and dissidence of distant lights
that flicker a warning—decency!
—death sentence!
the silent drums of patriotism

gravel sings a lullaby underfoot
then lo, the faintest scent of smoke
illumination of hidden fires
down in the brush, in a hollow

hunched figures of shadowdark
faintly visible from the moonlit rails

further ahead, a white house sits abandoned
at an Edward Hopper junction, shuttered
against the night,
paint chipped and flaking away,
the edge of town further along
the transient fires in the hollow,
stars above, hell below
nothing behind—desolation

one lesson you learn on such a journey
is that there is no heaven in this life
or in any other—just soup kitchen rhetoric
to lure in apostles and starving sheep,
but if you stand, listen, wait…
sometimes a lonesome whistle will call
in your mind, if not your ears

this distant call leads elsewhere,
down embankments, through the brush,
incandescence is my meager lord
and I join the rabble by the fire,
curled horns of mountain goats
sprouting out of knit hats and hoods,
no sheep or flock are we,
these are songs of ascension,
these are prayers of warmth,
this is the remains of rebellion
that will never die
no matter how many tyrants come
and go,
and it is here I remain
without so much I once knew,
far, far from the lights of town
and all they once stood for

--James H Duncan

James H Duncan is the editor of Hobo Camp Review and the author of Feral Kingdom, Vacancy, and We Are All Terminal But This Exit Is Mine, among other books. For more, visit www.jameshduncan.com.

Friday, March 6, 2020


                                 Prosthesis Culture

If I were blind
could I not see by thy hand?

If I were limbless
could I not strike with my tongue?

If I were deaf
could I not hear the emotion on a face?

How now far inside
the tomb lies
the answer to all questions

If you cannot work
you cannot contribute to society,
it seems America.

Who are you to the state,
the government, the world?

If all value were placed
on the backs of the worker,
the progressive, the animated,
for a culture of workers,
a culture of industry thinkers
and what came before it -
a war of ideas,
then why wait
for the invention
of the machine.

We can decide
for ourselves
come November.

---Ron Steiner

Thursday, March 5, 2020



what is my problem with criminals?
I’m supposed to be so liberal
and I am liberal with convicted felons
it’s the criminals in active practice
the criminals getting away with it
in broad daylight, for years
forever, since I first heard of them
they were dirty

--Charles Joy

Wednesday, March 4, 2020



if women weren’t allowed to vote in 2020

king trump would have us locked up in farms

making him money

until we were no longer able to bear children

sexual predator laws would slacken until

they didn’t exist

women would become chattel again

mares to be traded for money or goods

if we couldn’t vote

all of the 10’s would probably be fine,

but the rest of us would float like dead birds

in green poison seas

there won’t be an environmental protection agency

it may seem like I’m exaggerating

but I can promise you that I’m not

I have a B.A. in women’s studies

and I’ve read the history

I’ve read the biographies of suffragettes

who chained themselves to the fences outside the white house

women’s history is a history of servitude to men

so go vote,

while you can

--Heidi Blakeslee

Tuesday, March 3, 2020


The Crime of the Century

We hurtle towards disaster
in the name of MAGA

hell­bent on destruction
a societal state of advanced
decomposition, pulling ourselves
apart at the seams, running
on a hamster wheel, blind
to the déjà vu of 1932:

The top propping
up that aristocratic bile
giving in to the base impulses
of the favored few.

The bottom unsure
which way is up, trusting

are not the same

Killing each other
over scraps

they give you scraps!

You’re praising the hand
that slaps you.

--Joshua Medsker

Monday, March 2, 2020


the barber shop

it is my first haircut
in sixteen months
so there is already palpable tension
between the barber and i
when he walks in
fat, white and old
well-fed on capitalism
he’s wearing those reflector shades
that make him look like
that jerk-off southwestern sheriff
who’s a racist
apparently, i’m with his barber
he points to the other guy
sitting there playing on his phone
and says, can he do as bad a job as you?
the old man laughs
but no one else thinks he’s funny
he plops himself down
in the barber seat
like it’s his own lounger
let’s out a sigh that sounds like a fart
repeats the joke
about the bad haircut
until he gets a grin out of my guy
then my barber talks to the other barber in arabic
explaining what kind of haircut
the old man wants
and when the other barber goes to work
the old man says
could be worse
i could be the president
and his hair
imagine taking scissors to that!
then he laughs again
alone and to himself
as if the rest of stay silent
letting the radio
fill the void
of all the things

--John Grochalski


Sunday, March 1, 2020


Just As Long As I’m in This World

Is there anything else I can do
to relieve this nagging sense
of regret mixed with a touch
of fear of the unknown future?
Maybe I should see someone.
But I feel like I know too many
people already. They crowd
my daily life—I feel I am too
infrequently completely alone.
But this sinking feeling I have.
I think I need to do something
about it. Maybe it’s just what
all of us feel. Or maybe it’s a
genetic thing. Maybe I should
listen to more blues records—
“I am the light of this world.”

--Scott Silsbe