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.


Previous Feature: Bill Gainer

Bill Gainer is a storyteller, humorist, poet, and a maker of mysterious things. He earned his BA from St. Mary’s College and his MPA from the University of San Francisco. He is the publisher of the PEN Award winning R. L. Crow Publications and is the ongoing host of Red Alice’s Poetry Emporium (Sacramento, CA). Gainer is internationally published and known across the country for giving legendary fun-filled performances. Visit him in his books, at his personal appearances, or at his website,


Old Burns

I knew a guy
back in the sixties
had a scar
from a clothes iron
on his belly
just above
his belt line.

You could tell
it was an iron
kind of looked like
a just launched
It must have hurt like

He said it happened
in the Navy
loading shells
over by Vietnam.

He lied
let the truth slip out
one night—
too many cocktails
at the Busy-Bee Club.

His second wife
had put it to him—
she liked to fight

Cost him fifteen hundred
to replace three of her teeth
from the punch
that knocked her out
that night.

In those days
they called it passion.
When the blood boiled
you let it

He said the marriage lasted
another year
until she came at him
with the pruning shears
and even though
she’d moved to Reno
he still carried
a Mexican switchblade.
Just in case
she still loved him.


A Rickety Hotel—on a Cliffside, Hwy 1, Long Ago 

I think I
rented a room there
Was asked to leave
because of the dancing.
My partner was a big girl
thick thighs,
we liked to Mambo.
I thought it was my moves
causing the world to sway.
They said it was the foundation
She called me her
Little Peach.
We’ve lost touch
but I still remember those
thick thighs
and every now and then
in a crowded room
a quiet bar
or a sleepy bus stop
I’ll bust a move—
Just in case
she’s out there
looking for me.
Christ, I’m sure
she don’t look
the same either
but it would be nice
to hear her voice,
“Don’t I know you?
You ever spent time
up on the coast?
I used to dance with
a guy up there.
He drank bourbon.
You drink
You dance?”


All Hail! Bill Gainer’s full-length collection, Lipstick and Bullet Holes (Epic Rites Press, 2015), is available on Amazon. Simply click on the cover image below to learn more . . .


%d bloggers like this: