Feature Poet: David Spicer

David Spicer has poems in Alcatraz, The American Poetry Review, Chiron Review, Easy Street, Gargoyle, Midnight Lane Boutique, Ploughshares, Scab, Tipton Poetry Journal, and elsewhere. He is the author of five chapbooks, with his latest being From the Limbs of a Pear Tree (Flutter Press, 2017). He has been nominated for a Pushcart once and Best of the Net three times.



The Bakelite Beethoven knick knack
I bought in Africa trusted me to accept
that I craved it. Later, I buried it next
to the decapitated hooligan after his funeral.
I brooded over that decision, departed
the continent in a spoiled mood and sailed
in a panic to the palace here in Turkey
where I served the princess. A companion
who recited chants of ancient poets,
displayed photographs of Greece’s pillars,
and performed other more intimate duties,
I never groveled or counted the feathers
of an eagle for her, a patient skeptic,
a dynamo in our bed. We cheered when
her husband the prince fell into the reptile pit.
She commissioned a canvas of horses
galloping on the bridge over the canal
in memory of his love for palominos and
appaloosas. Later, she presented me a package,
a music box that overpowered us with its
melody, her handwriting on the love note
impeccable. Not an ultimatum for loyalty,
not a searchlight for the desire frozen in my
heart, it humbled me, and I finally admitted
I loved her more than my career as a slave.


On the Eve of the Apocalypse

I’ll waltz with a centaur,
shuffle with the moonlight,
and cry when a wolf howls
in a hammock at the foot
of the gallows. I’ll borrow
an octopus’ nine brains
and prowl the carousels
with dragonflies. The song
of woe I’ll perform
for my fellow pacifists
will jangle the beads
of my love’s sari and I’ll wish
the emperor luck as he escapes
to the barn. Yes, I have the soul
of a monk, an Armani model’s
swagger, and Elvis’ voice
whether I play the organ or
announce the Bingo numbers
you collect every Friday night.
Here, catch these free tickets
to tomorrow’s final explosions,
kiss my mouth with faith, and hum
as the wind blows my name.
toward the waterhole of your heart.


All Hail! First edition copies of David Spicer’s full-length poetry collection, Everybody Has a Story (St. Luke’s Press, 1988), remain available for purchase at Abe Books. Please, click on the cover image below, and browse the selection . . .

Previous Feature: DF Paul

DF Paul is a writer living in the midwestern United States. He hates writing about himself without the guise of creative deniability. A list of his published work can be seen at dfpaul.wordpress.com.


For You

All the good I have done
I have done for you:
You, with a thousand names,
each of unparalleled beauty;
You, without form or face,
who speaks the tongue of broken men
as if it was yours to take;
You, who writes the songs
then plagiarizes their names.
You, a monster just like me,
shambling toward the wreckage
of what we assume grace to be.
You, the whisper in the wind
on the longest nights alone.
I did it all for you.


To-Do List

build a better bomb;
the kind that doesn’t
kill when it explodes,
but fools people into thinking
everything will be okay.

achieve a more perfect orgasm
than the one you still remember,
the one you’ve always tried to match,
the one you think of when
you hear a certain name,
the orgasm you try not to resent.

speak to someone who has
only a passing familiarity
with the only language you know,
and do so without raising
and slowing your speech
like you would to
a punished dog.

learn what it means to feel
something without your hands
on someone’s body;
least of all your own.

make one of your dreams
come true, even if
you have to resort to
one of the weird ones.

have an awful romance,
but make sure your prospective lover
is looking for the same thing;
be each other’s go-to horror story
so you can both more easily
relate to others.



I’ll stop you in the window light
to admire the form and the grace
gifted through you to mortal men.
I’ll say, “Aphrodite stood here
and made herself known to my hands
when modern wisdom let us down.”
The words are yours if you want them,
but the last gods have come and gone;
I can show you the profaned grave.
The words are yours if you want them.
I have no more use for them now
beyond the moment they were born.


All Hail! Care to learn more about DF Paul? Read more of his published writings? Or, view some of his photography? Then, click on the image below, titled “Evidence,” and give his personal site a visit . . .

Previous Feature: Kimberly Madura

Kimberly Madura has been social worker for the past 20 years, and currently divides her time between Chicago and Vermont. Her poetry has been published in Brief Wilderness, Northwest Indiana Literary Journal, Penny Ante Feud, Poets’ Touchstone, and elsewhere. Copies of her first poetry chapbook, Neon Glow (Green Door Press, 2018), are available by contacting Kim directly at kimberly418@hotmail.com.


More questions than answers

tell me
tell me before it’s too late
tell me before you go

why don’t you talk about it
what is there to know
bottled up inside you
muted with an alcohol bottle

how do you make someone
who never released themselves
release you

are you going to take
the truths with you when you go
and keep them buried forever

more questions
these questions linger

I can’t get the answers
but I can ask the questions

and each time I do
I loosen some
of that tie that


Spell on You

A long time you put something in your body, over and over
and now, years later
that white powder
made it so you can’t
get close to me physically, emotionally
as if a spell was cast back then
that still has power over you now
the anxiety
that never goes away

that white powder made it so you can’t
stay here in the present without
worrying about there, what will be
but really it’s
what was
that is causing it
only you don’t know that yet
but I do

so that white powder
affects me still, ongoing(ly), always
and I curse it
because I know what it
took (takes) (away)
only you don’t
if only I knew how to
break that spell
and free you, and free me
from that white powder



That night as I was brushing your hair,
You said it was falling out
(you were eating candy)

I asked if you were scared
You turned to look at me
And then you calmly said


All Hail! Starting on November 3rd, 2018, Midnight Lane Boutique will be taking a little publishing hiatus. But, never fear! We’ll reopen to poetry submissions at some point in 2019. ‘Til then . . .

Previous Feature: Melanie Browne

Melanie Browne is a poet and fiction writer living in Texas. She has been published in various journals through the years but lately has been more interested in looking up dead relatives on ancestry.com, or making blueberry pies to feed a house full of teenagers.


In Dream Boats

the water is
always choppy
and travels at least
sixty knots per hour

There is never any
Dramamine and they
have run out of water
but you can have
hot chocolate
which makes you
even thirstier

In dream boats
icebergs are
everywhere even in
shallow water
and sharks circle
at regular intervals
like you are waiting
for the park & ride

The captain is mean
and orders you to be
keelhauled but you can’t
find your flip-flops
and a mutiny isn’t
possible because
the bullets are
made of string cheese

in Dream Boats the
water is always choppy


The Last Chance Saloon

is closing soon.
It’s not really
your last chance—
if you have a credit card
or a couple of twenties
you can have more chances.
It’s the last chance in
name only;
some of the clients
are on their third or fourth
their fourth parakeet,
their fifth old car,
so you shouldn’t feel
discouraged at all.
The bartender is nice
and encouraging;
he switched careers
because he used to be
a life coach
and has lots of
sage advice.


The Mexican Ball Player

in the Pre-Columbian
section of the Houston
Art Museum is
sitting cross-legged

he wears only a loin cloth
and some bracers on
his wrist either for
beauty or function
I can’t tell which

the statue stares
directly at me
and is shocking
in its directness

and since I am
the only one in this
quiet room it gives
me the heebie jeebies

and I feel most
likely he would need
to go back to the
minor leagues after
being out of practice
so very very long

sitting there rigid
like a thousand year egg
and longing to kick
the ball and see the
sun at the edge of
the bright field

I walk quickly
from the room
and take a deep
breath and watch
as the living
people mill about


All Hail! Melanie Browne’s poetry collection, Portrait of a Bad Sailor Girl (Magic Mystery Tour Press, 2012), is available via Lulu. To learn more, simply click on the cover image below . . .

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