Feature Poet: Kristen Williamson

Kristen Williamson is currently a Graduate in English Literature and Creative Writing at Binghamton University in New York, where her fields of study include poetry and fiction. She has been featured in Slink Chunk Press, The Stray Branch, The Zine and others.


Verbal Abuse

I traded stares with a woman
with the darkest green eyes
that seemed to say,
“I’ve been there too,
hold tight,”
as you moved toward me
and strangers just looked on.


Sharp Edge of Picture Frames   

I once told you
I didn’t like to fight.
I’m sure I smiled
the smile I always smile
when I’m telling a lie.
I want to smash the dishes
and the picture frames
that hold bittersweet memories.
I want to feel
you bleed
in front of me.


Power Struggles

I lift my head from your pillow
to watch the leaves fall from their silk roots.
Your chest caves in and out against the mattress,
the sheets tangled between your thighs.
Sunlight streams from the window
and kisses the back I claw
when I’m under you,
my bare feet slipping on your silk sheets.
I dig my fingertips along your spine
and listen for an angry “fuck” to assault my ears.
I rest my mouth on your shoulder
and sink my teeth into your skin;
the stinging of your flesh
falls from your mouth in a growl.
I can’t help but want you more
when you roll on your back
and let me map my favorite parts
of your chest
with hands no longer timid.
I press you harder into the bed.
Your teeth clench.
I pull my shirt over my head,
grind my hips against you—
I love the way you look­
when I’m on top of you.


The Flood of August

I soak up the gallon of water,
the one you threw at me
because I had an attitude
after you called me a cunt.

I sit with bath towels trying to stop
the water that spreads
over the dining room floor.

You walk by and knock a chair
into the water.
It splashes me in the face.

I won’t cry—
not with you standing there.

“Defeated,” I repeat to myself,
“don’t let him see you defeated.”


All Hail! Edited by Kristen Williamson, Rachel Speciale, and Heather Humphrey, Street Light Press publishes poetry on a monthly basis, and is currently seeking submissions. Simply click on the logo below to learn more . . .

Previous Feature: James Decay

James Decay lives his life these days as a nomad, taking any kind of work that comes his way which might not always be on the up and up. At the end of the day he writes poems about it.


Poem 1

Jimmy did a bump
off the web
of his right hand,
pulled the ski mask
over his face and
told me to
keep it running.

He opened the
car door and
began walking
toward the gas station.

The frozen ground
held the reflection
of the sign above
that read,
“Fresh Bait &
Cold Beer.”

The cashier looked up
when the bell
above the door jingled.

Jimmy pulled the .380
from his waistband,
aimed it at the kid
behind the counter
and told him
to empty the register
or he’d feel the wind
snake through his
fuckin’ head.

The kid
did what he was told.
He told the kid to
throw in a fifth of Jack
and a carton of Winstons
while he was at it.

The kid
did that as well.

Jimmy did
a curtsy, turned on his
heel and strolled out
the door where the
owner was waiting
with a shotgun.

I watched
Jimmy raise his .380 but it
was too late.

The owner’s
shotgun bucked and put
Jimmy on his back where
he laid gasping for air as
snowflakes the size of
silver dollars filled his mouth
and a cold wind
snaked through the
hole in his chest.


Poem 2

Three days
the monster
they created
my cellmate
looked at me
and said
when I get
on the
other side
of the
razor wire
I’m gonna
rain down
on the
free world
and for
twenty-eight days
he did
just that
a trail of
spent shell casings
wrecked cars
and empty bank tills
in his wake
until a
US marshal
put a bullet
in his head
leaving cody’s
bad intent
to drip
from the
of a


Poem 3

I consider death
to be the great
sitting at a table
across from you
watching you squirm
in your seat
searching for the right
words to say
while death
just sits there
with that
hard as fucking nails
Steve McQueen stare
knowing it doesn’t
have to say shit
to you
anyone else
because its actions
speak for themselves


All Hail! This is a public service announcement from Midnight Lane Boutique. Death is ever present. So, don’t strive after the wind. Instead, click on the hourglass below, and learn how you can share your own hard-earned wisdom with the world . . .


This has been a public service announcement from Midnight Lane Boutique. Had this been an actual existential crisis, you’d be on your own . . .

Thank you.


GIF credit: Public Domain Diva 

Previous Feature: David Spicer

David Spicer has, in pursuit of the word, worked as a paper boy, dishwasher, bottle loader, record warehouser, carpet roll dragger, 11th and 12th grader babysitter, medical journal proofreader—to list just a few. He has the usual poetry wall of his own work, but tries to keep that in perspective.


What Now?

Acrophobia hinders a lifelong ambition
to erect copper and aluminum towers,
so I placate my stained-glass ego
by inhaling the night air of snow clouds
and aspens, but I eat hamburgers
until this paunch bulges and I can’t wear
double extra-large flannel shirts. My boots
are a size too big for tapping kneecaps
of my underlings. Listen, I love to snap
my fingers, spit Coke at grease monkeys,
and conduct slide shows for savages
in gambling casinos. Okay then,
I concede there are no prophets
serving entrepreneurs and politicians—
the days of pillaging villages and burning
conquered bodies have passed. Alright now,
no more ambushes will occur, brush fires
are all but gone, along with dreams
of inventing unique satellites.
Believe me, I’ve dawdled too much,
the lamplight fades quicker than ever,
and I need to recruit some advisors
and salesmen for new terrains to chisel,
or I’ll sink. What now? I have it:
I’m gonna run for President!


No Apologia

I’ve never slogged through Ovid
or saddled a horse for a foxhunt,
didn’t know my pappy very well
or acquire a mentor, so don’t
think I’m some sycophant who’ll
drink your cognac and celebrate
your victories over a pepper pot
with a berry cobbler for dessert.
I don’t believe in a thesaurus when
I copy edit your quodlibets, though
I do like the aigrette around your neck,
but that doesn’t mean I’ll sing a chanson
or wear chiffon just because you do.
I’ve lived downtown too long to justify
myself or hobble like your stepson
who fell off his skateboard. And I won’t
pay tribute to you with a pantomime
of a birch hanging off a cliff. I refuse
to pray in your cathedral of the self
or compose praises on parchment,
so I’ll leave with no apologia to offer
and hereby tender my resignation.


All Hail! Copies of David Spicer’s first book, Everybody Has a Story (St. Luke’s Press, 1987), can still be found kicking around over at Abe Books. Please, click on the cover image below to learn more . . .

Previous Feature: Ryan Quinn Flanagan

Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a Canadian-born author residing in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with his other half and mounds of snow.  His work can be found both in print and online in such places as Evergreen Review, In Between Hangovers, Horror Sleaze Trash, The New York Quarterly, Red Fez, Sick Lit Magazine, and Word Riot.


Don’t Blow my Brains Out, the Japanese Want to Buy Them

The next time someone tells you
what a fine and reasonable place
the world is

think of Andrei Chikatilo
with a mouthful of uterus

or that naughty one—Albert Fish—
writing a letter to the family
of the young girl he has killed,
describing how he cooked
and ate her

and just how good her little ass tasted.

The next time someone tells you
what a fine and reasonable place
the world is
and nod
because it is the courteous
thing to do.

Follow the bouncing ball to nowhere.
Bouncing Bettys that never go off until
well after you marry


Work Clothes

I am steeping tea
because I am allergic to coffee.

Caffeine to be exact.
Sure I could drink decaf,
but that would be like paying
for a hooker that “doesn’t do that.”

And the radiator is broken.
And the building superintendent
died seven years ago.

We all just figure it out now
as we go.

Connected by little more than the
overpowering aroma of our clumsy work clothes



Imagine sitting
in a downtown

with a beautiful woman
listening to how
facial cleansers
have saved her

dying a little
with each passing

as the corporate art
on the wall
laughs at you
for ever

to fuck



All Hail! To learn more about Ryan Quinn Flanagan, please visit his personal site chock full of . . .

  • poetry
  • photos
  • books
  • reviews
  • & interviews

Simply click on the image to your right, and don’t feel pressured at all by the nice man pointing a rifle at you.

Everything will be just fine . . . just fine.


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