Feature Poet: Michael Dwayne Smith

Michael Dwayne Smith lives near a Mojave Desert ghost town with his family and rescued animals. Twice nominated for a Pushcart Prize, his work haunts many literary houses—including burntdistrict, The Cortland Review, Gravel, Monkeybicycle, New World Writing, Rat’s Ass Review, San Pedro River Review, Skidrow Penthouse, Word Riot—and has been widely anthologized. When not writing or teaching, he is editor of Mojave River Press & Review.


Boomer Philosophy

Suck my balls
was a philosophy
espoused by a great many of my peers
growing up in the sixties.
It is still
prevalent today. We Boomers
are the leaders
we once dreamed of burning alive.
Suck my balls
is heard in serious conversation about
climate change,
disappearance of the middle class,
the astronomical cost of higher, I say
Higher Ed,
dead young black men in the street.
Suck my balls
makes America repeat, I say
Great Again, repeat
by way of foreign policy—Hey,
Mexico! Hey, Muslimims!
Hey, Sporadical
Islamic Terronomists!
The intricacy, the delicacy of our
Collective Thought Process boggles:
Suck my balls!


The Future
(According to authoritative sources)

A cyborg
Hits a World Series winning
Grand slam
At the very moment
Its same-no-sex partner
Dies of robot cancer


How to Find Diego

I can’t tell you, “You’ll know you’re at Diego’s when
you see all the coyote skulls in his yard,”

because everyone in his neighborhood has them, too,
so no, I don’t know where I was last night,

Diego’d left already, and the music on the stereo
sounded like the spaceships were landing . . .

but wouldn’t you know I didn’t have my passport.
Just this stupid look on my face and residual road rage.

Some guy called “Diego’s cousin” wasn’t pleased. He said,
“Your waiter is a furry woodland creature and cares not

for your bourgeoisie complaint.” (Like I’m some kind of
grubby little velvet Elvis.) I got out of there.

I can tell you this. Coyotes can and will fuck with you,
and that guy? For sure wasn’t Diego’s real cousin.


All Hail! Want a signed copy of Michael Dwayne Smith’s most recent book of poetry, Roadside Epiphanies (2017), published by Cholla Needles Press? Then, please click on the cover image to learn more . . .

Previous Feature: Robert Beveridge

Robert Beveridge makes noise (xterminal.bandcamp.com) and writes poetry just outside Cleveland, OH. Recent/upcoming appearances in Pulsar, Scarlet Leaf Review, and Tessellate, among others.



manifests itself
at night
on her skin

into purple

ribs crack
a cupful of cherries
femur holds out
against the belt

bones fight on, brave
but in the end, lose

and she tells
the attending physician
she fell down the stairs



walks into the bar
new boy two steps
behind like a Muslim wife
cigarette curved
against that bottom lip
so good at those little tricks
orders a sloe gin
“and a Jack and water for the baby
put some hair on his chest”
i think about a switch
to boilermakers
decide instead
I never liked this bar
much anyway


Red Water

Her mother
doesn’t like
her new boyfriend

and says
all her friends
are on drugs

but she doesn’t care
she gets it cheap

she can’t at this point tell
whether she prefers

the spike in her vein
that injects liquid suicide

the spike in her vulva
that injects liquid life

but they both come
from the same place

so she doesn’t have to think
about it

she’s in deep
and the spikes the strikes
build up around her

but they sink deep
into her body
and somehow she forgets
to worry


What Is Seven Times Eight?

The goddamned
answer to life you said
quoting Adams of course
so why are you dead?

Maybe you thought
you could fly
from forty-two stories up

but I’ll tell you babe
the Theory of Universal
Gravitation waits
for no man

when you’ve shot
so much smack
your eyes look
as if they’ve burned out
I guess
you don’t remember
those theory classes

you were such
a Douglas Adams fan
I hope you’re stuck
in the Cathedral of Hate


All Hail! Besides being a poet, Robert Beveridge is also a musician. “Pitiable the Outcome” is off the 2017 EP “Containment Procedures,” by Ebola is the Savior . . .

The rest of the EP is available for your listening (dis)pleasure at bandcamp.

Previous Feature: Jeffrey Zable

Jeffrey Zable is a teacher and conga drummer who plays Afro-Cuban Folkloric music for dance classes and Rumbas around the San Francisco Bay Area. His poetry, fiction, and non-fiction have appeared in hundreds of literary magazines and anthologies. Recent publications include Brickplight, Colloquial, Corvus, Drunken Llama, Fear of Monkeys, Futures Trading, Jokes Review, Mocking Heart Review, Third Wednesday, Tigershark, and Tower Journal, among others.


The Promise

When I drank down the big enema highball
I became a politician standing on the corner
pontificating on what I was going to do to make America great again.
And the people cheered for me
and the women threw their pussies at my feet
which I picked up like sea shells and held to my ear.
One echoed that I was a great man.
Another that I was rich beyond compare.
Another that I had friends in high places
who would maneuver me into the highest office in the land.
With that, I thanked everyone,
promised a steak in every pan,
and a long and happy life for those who support me . . .


On the Cold Side

Coming out of Safeway in the Portrero District
I watch as two security guards are following a homeless man
who’s walking backwards with a barbecued chicken in his hand
while yelling, “You fuckers better get away from me
or I’ll call the police!”
One of the security guards yells back, “Stop right now,
and give us that chicken. This is your last chance!”
As I continue to watch, I see that the homeless guy has no intention
of giving them the chicken, and at the same time
I’m marveling at how fast he’s walking backwards.
I’m not so sure if I were walking forwards as fast as I could
that I‘d beat him in a race.
Still walking backwards the guy exits the parking lot and heads right,
which will lead him into a lot of traffic and people everywhere.
As I get in my car I’m wondering if he’ll finally relent
and give the security guys the chicken
or whether they’ll finally give in and let him have his meal in peace,
even though the chicken will probably be on the cold side . . .



Here I am again writing a poem like millions
of other poets before me, trying to leave something
behind that not only says something about me but has
universal qualities too. As I write this, I feel I’m going
to have to make number two any minute. That’s what
my grandmother used to call it. When I was a child
and we were out somewhere and I said I had to go
to the bathroom, she’d ask, “Do you need to go number
one or number two?” I never understood why it was so
important for her to know if I needed to go number one
or two, but now I know I’ve written a poem that says
something about me and has universal truth to it,
for who hasn’t taken walks with their grandmother
and been asked questions without knowing why!


All Hail! Care to learn more about Midnight Lane Boutique, a.k.a. the boo-tay? Then, simply click on the GIF below . . .

Previous Feature: James Diaz

James Diaz is founding editor of the literary arts & music journal Anti-Heroin Chic. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Ekphrastic Review, HIV Here & Now, Occulum, Philosophical Idiot, and Quail Bell Magazine. He is the author of the forthcoming poetry collection, This Someone I Call Stranger (Indolent Books, 2018). He currently resides in upstate New York.


Survival Mode

I want the place in you
where the pages are missing
and the sheriff called
your mother to tell her the news
of your brother
split in two on the rails
in California at 4 am
and your mother
threw an ashtray through
the window and the dog
began to bark
until the whole neighborhood
was involved in this loss
that no one will mention for years
to come, out of caution—
out of what it means to survive
without losing your fucking mind
I want the place in you where the book
came up empty and you threw your whole shattered face
into my chest and wept and I said nothing
because I too had lost things this immense
because I know how necessary silence is sometimes,
when the chips are down and the morning sun turns atomic—
see, no one really understands till they lose more
than they’ve ever had—
and knowing you could always lose more
you fight like hell for whatever’s left—
this is what they really mean by have and have-not.


The People I Know Do The Best They Can

“My addictions make me hate,
but my afflictions make me kind.
I’m a circle,
not a straight line.”
                            —Johanna Warren

Gino says
his sobriety saved others—
him, he’s not so sure about

Rita boxes her shadows
at night
keeps a blade
for door frames that stick
calls her sponsor at 3 am
musters strength
from god knows where
and gets out of bed
like a broken
rag doll
empties her drawer
for quarters

this is grace
whether you know it or not
finding change you didn’t know was there.


All Hail! Anti-Heroin Chic, edited by James Diaz, is a fine online journal that publishes regularly, on a rolling basis. To learn more about the journal, please click on the header image below . . . 

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