Elisabeth Horan is a poet, mother, student, lover of kind people and animals, homesteading in Vermont with her tolerant partner and two young sons. She enjoys riding her horses and caring for her cats, chickens, goats and children (not necessarily in that order). She teaches at River Valley Community College in New Hampshire. Follow her @ehoranpoet.
Ghost Hunting Season
If I could be anyone, I’d try to be you.
Because you are the thickest ice.
Because you use the sharpest knives.
I’d be like— “I have no idea how to do this.”
You’d calm me down, say: “Don’t worry, you’ve got this”—
There’s nothing to it. Nothing. Just breathe. In and Out.
Then, denude a tree with only your eyes. Eat a
pear—silence its fleshen-screams from the inside.
Walk with demons from your teen-age years,
as they pull sharpened teeth from your tongue.
Bite through glass; pretend it didn’t break!
Drink from oil pump, chase it up and down—
like the bunny hops along a made-up trail.
Eat me—grow big; eat me—shrink small;
till the queen sees nothing at all.
Don’t be spotted. If they spot you they will
shoot on site. Very trigger happy, these men.
It’s a terrible time: hunting season for ghosts.
Few go free. Few are not guilty. Few,
which scraped at my marrow—the few,
which sucked at my teat. They have no idea
they are venison meat.
Lastly, don’t close your eyes. It’s good advice,
it may be the best given. Because your eyelids
won’t show you the crimes I have committed.
I know they won’t, if I could be anyone—
if I tried to be as thick and as sharp as you.
If I tried to run from men; in this unimaginable
ghost hunting season.
I Know You From Before—
I know you from before—
we met in the hall by your locker.
All braces and metal belts; high-top Air Jordans
Mohawk rainbow, lip pierce straight-laced—
queer as fuck.
You loved me as best you knew how
from watching others/you learned from
bruising easily/how to avoid the burn-hot love by others.
Formed of sharp metal and tacks, I’m all Tara and Brittney
you were Rubix and Motley/Def Leppard
didn’t hold a candle to you. Tattoo, gel and combat.
A certain whiff of skunk.
I sneak out of cobwebs to meet you again
but something looks different this time at 42.
You’ve stopped singing or something.
No longer folking or punking—
instead trained classical.
Couldn’t afford any tuition though—
I know. I hear it in your poems.
But there is still a something—
It lurks behind your eyes, pulses
like behind blood clotting.
I’m still slave to it: you’re messy,
shattered and heavy-duty danger.
And I like it.
All Hail! Care to read more poetry by Elisabeth Horan? Then check out [Insert Yourself Here]: an Anthology of Contemporary Poetry (2017), published by The Paragon Journal, and available via Amazon. Just click on the cover image below to learn more . . .
J.J. Campbell (1976 – ?) is trapped in a suburban hell at the moment. He’s been widely published over the years, most recently at The Beatnik Cowboy, Horror Sleaze Trash, Mad Swirl, Winedrunk Sidewalk, and Your One Phone Call. You can find him most days on his highly entertaining blog, evil delights.
humans are the disease
and i know
once i see
a robot cry
or pound a
a damn wall
a halloween prank
a skeleton off
the bridge as a
you wondered if
the rope was strong
enough for a husky
lost kid dreading
under that bridge
was the first time
you saw a rusty
needle and a
there’s a train
you never had
the courage to
it’s not that you
wouldn’t buy the
apathy has a way
of killing the soul
quicker than any
if you dig deep enough
go seek utopia in the
bottom of the dumpster
behind the bar on fifth
if you dig deep enough
you may find a body
or you could find a way
into another universe
one where cars are
shaped like unicorns
and ugly guys get all
or you could stumble
into a homeless man
searching for clean
piss to pass a drug
screening for a job
the lucky ones will
come out with a half
full bottle of something
strong enough and
just enough marijuana
laced with whatever
to take off the edge
All Hail! Care to learn more about J.J. Campbell and his poetry? Then, be sure to listen to this great interview, conducted by Marcia Epstein on “Talk with me,” as featured on LawrenceHits.com. Just click on the image below to learn more . . .
John Grey is an Australian poet, US resident. Recently published in the Columbia Review, Studio One, and Tau, with work upcoming in Examined Life Journal, Midwest Quarterly, and Naugatuck River Review.
The Tough Times and The Bad Times
She’s seated on stage,
at least the makeshift kind
that only a coffee house can provide,
in a simple black dress,
gaunt face, pale lips,
her hair cut women’s-prison short,
a pile of papers flopped across her lap.
Half the tables are occupied.
Some people chatter.
Others try to be courteous, hold their tongues
while she reaches for the first poem
of the evening’s reading.
Her voice is high and shrill
and the work is the closest words ever come
to self-flagellation, raw and bitter,
miserable, suicidal even.
Men are like cat o’nine tails in disguise
is a typical theme.
It’s the first time anyone in the audience
has ever heard “penis” used as verb.
Even women are no more than torture implements.
And family are a penal colony
so good luck with that.
After a half hour of this,
the talk becomes louder,
the attentive ones are ready
to slit their own throats.
She then thanks the audience
for their scattered applause,
gathers up her papers,
slips out of the coffee house and into the night.
“Imagine going home to that,” somebody says loudly.
Chalk one up for poetry’s feel-good effect.
A Night Out
in the moon—
Jenny lolls on the step,
stretching her legs
so that her sequined shoes
can snare a little of that light—
her past is parked on blocks
but her future’s made for dancing
for tonight at least—
no day would be so foolish
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David Spicer has had poems in Alcatraz, The American Poetry Review, Chiron Review, Easy Street, Gargoyle, Midnight Lane Boutique, The New Verse News, Ploughshares, Rat’s Ass Review, Reed Magazine, Santa Clara Review, Third Wednesday, Yellow Mama, and elsewhere. The author of Everybody Has a Story (St. Luke’s Press, 1987) and five chapbooks, he’s the former editor of raccoon, Outlaw, and Ion Books.
The Infamous Five
Old Weinstein can’t keep his grubby little
hands to himself. Neither can Cosby, O’Reilly,
Ailes and Trump, who are all pimples
when groping chic beauties against their wills.
All of these creeps are very ugly men:
if a woman, I’d run away from them,
use my high heels to kick their ageing shins,
or in some splendid way show blunt contempt.
But I’m not: I’m a guy in a city
reading about five sad sacks pathetic
in their lack of finesse. They’re pitiful.
For one day, women just may—poetic,
yes?—cause these men to purchase prosthetics,
give them reason to apply synthetics
on those most wonderful, prized possessions:
egos and penises, their obsessions.
What Might Have Happened
After I read Trump kissed Katy Tur’s cheek,
I couldn’t help but judge him and assess
that he was nothing more and nothing less
than a toad, a lecherous creep, a weak
boy who lacked finesse or stylish technique,
didn’t care whether he caused dire duress
to any beauty he sought to undress—
no matter that he craved high-class mystique.
Then I asked myself what might have happened
if Katy had said, “You pathetic turd,”
high-heeled him in his orange genitals,
and he and that maleness landed flattened
on the hardwood like a windshield-crashed bird:
might he evolve into leafy lentils?
All Hail! David Spicer’s latest chapbook, From the Limbs of a Pear Tree (2017), is available from Flutter Press. Simply click on the cover image below to learn more . . .