Wednesday, August 23, 2023

How Shy Can a Little Girl Be by B. Lynne Zika

You know that year there was a private toilet
in the classroom? Not many schools had that.
Girls wore dresses then, sometimes even at play
but always, always at school.
You had to pull down your tights and undies,
let them pool around your ankles—honestly,
so absurd—then gather your petticoat
and the folds of your skirt
up around your waist and sit.

Your Mary Janes dangled.
Your feet didn’t even touch the floor.
So there you sat, ridiculous as a monkey 
with a cigarette, and THEN
somebody knocks on the door.

There wasn’t any screen in front of the little toilette.
When you opened the door, the whole white throne
exposed itself to the room. I can’t imagine 
who designed such a thing.
But the day I was holding court,
well, privately holding court,
somebody knocked on the door.
I’m there in all my dangling Mary Janes glory,
but I have a bigger problem.

I don’t know what to say.

I don’t mean that a range of options
presented itself for consideration.
I mean no one ever told me how to respond
when you’re sitting in a semi-public bathroom—
a single-stall semi-public bathroom—
and someone knocks.
I just couldn’t think of a thing to say.

So Jimmy Felding opened the door,
thinking the room unoccupied.
He stared. I stared. 
Jimmy’s the one who spoke.
“Oh! Excuse me!”

It was like the time I was late for my performance
in the school play. Mama dropped me off,
and I ran down the hall clutching my costume
and the sheet music I’d marked in blue ink.
I hear a voice behind me. “Is this yours?”
I turn. A fella is holding up
a white crinoline petticoat.
They’re the kind which make your skirts
stand out like an upside-down tipi.
A boy was waving my petticoat high in the air,
some beribboned flag of surrender.
My petticoat was in his hand.

I believe I tossed my curls. I said,
“Nope. Not mine.”
He looked astounded.
But then, so did I.

B. Lynne Zika’s photography, nonfiction, and poetry have appeared in numerous literary and consumer publications. 2022 publications include Delta Poetry Review, Backchannels, Poesy, Suburban Witchcraft, and The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature. In addition to editing poetry and nonfiction, she worked as a closed-captioning editor for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Awards include: Pacificus Foundation Literary Award in short fiction, Little Sister Award and Moon Prize in poetry, and Viewbug 2020 and 2021Top Creator Awards in photography. Website:

Friday, July 21, 2023

Maybe the Holes by Michael Dwayne Smith

Maybe coyote is your wallet
Maybe coyote is the money in your wallet
Maybe coyote is your tongue and fingertips
Maybe coyote is a voice in your head that says
    buy candy or weed
    or an obscenely expensive motor vehicle
    out of covet or jealousy or envy or boredom
    or ennui or depression
Maybe coyote is that Billy Crystal voice that says
    it’s better to look good
    than to feel good, my friend
Maybe coyote has eaten through your skin
Maybe coyote has gobbled up your heart
Maybe coyote has chomped your bones, sucked your marrow
Maybe coyote has fucked you like a movie star
Maybe coyote has devoured your cock and balls and tits and clit
Maybe coyote has penetrated all your holes,
    made them more and more empty
Maybe coyote has become the holes
Maybe the holes have become your soul

Michael Dwayne Smith has appeared in ONE ART Poetry Journal, The Rye Whiskey Review, The Cortland Review, New World Writing, Ethel Zine, Chiron Review, Third Wednesday, and Heavy Feather Review, among many others; a multiple-time nominee for the Pushcart and Best of the Net, he lives near a Mojave Desert ghost town with his family and rescued horses.

Sunday, June 4, 2023

Things That Go ping! in the Night by B. Lynne Zika

Do you know what neuropathy is? How about peripheral neuropathy? Me, neither. But mine has a Napoleon complex. The brat.
I finally order the Muses to shut up at 3:00 a.m. and jitterbug my way to bed. There I lie, not thinking about the 47 things I’m thinking about, and ping! he’s at it again. Napoleon, I mean. I have a feeling this is going to be good.

Four days ago it was a bee sting to the hip. Then the usual 30 fine needles peppering my hands and feet. I sit down to dinner and the knees start aching. Fiercely. I ignore them. Three bites of tortellini later, Bludgeoning crash! and I get a hatchet to the left knee. All right, already. I get it! Now, mon général, what do you want me to do about it? Silence.

But tonight, he’s King. This is a full-frontal attack. He’s skirmishing with hands, feet, shins, quadriceps, chest, right nipple — Hold on a damn minute. My nipple?

B. Lynne Zika’s photography, nonfiction, and poetry have appeared in numerous literary and consumer publications. 2022 publications include Delta Poetry Review, Backchannels, Poesy, Suburban Witchcraft, and The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature. In addition to editing poetry and nonfiction, she worked as a closed-captioning editor for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. Awards include: Pacificus Foundation Literary Award in short fiction, Little Sister Award and Moon Prize in poetry, and Viewbug 2020 and 2021Top Creator Awards in photography. Website:

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Rain of Terror at the Duck ‘n’ Dive In Inn By Mikki Aronoff

Outside, it’s raining flaming sleeping bags. Ashes fizzling everywhere. It’s not like sleet or snow — they thump when they hit the ground. They hiss. We quiver under the cherrywood bar, our necks craned to the 98” Samsung blaring the emergency warning, 1050 Hz blasting our ears. Five minutes to evacuate! repeated on the screen in cloud-white Luxi Mono Bold text floating on sky blue. Did some consultant plan that? So soothing. Four minutes! Guinness, TV, blue, white — are we not already in heaven? Three minutes! Two! One! We rise in slow motion to the garbled voice, call for another round.

Mikki Aronoff’s work appears in New World Writing, MacQueen’s Quinterly, Tiny Molecules, The Disappointed Housewife, Bending Genres, Milk Candy Review, Gone Lawn, Mslexia, The Dribble Drabble Review, 100 word story, The Citron Review, Atlas and Alice, trampset, jmww, and elsewhere. She’s received Pushcart, Best of the Net, Best Small Fictions, Best American Short Stories, and Best Microfiction nominations.

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Frosty Are We? By John Patrick Robbins

She said to me mid-conversation:

"Can you write me something as if you were actually in love with me?"

I was silent for a bit in my reply.

Then, at last, I said:

"Sure, just give me a second."

As I quickly hung up on her before she could even reply goodnight.

Poured a drink en route to oblivion and turned off my phone for the next several days.

And as I powered it back on, it lit up one text at a time.

Till at last, I read the inevitable.

"Hey, asshole! Where the fuck have you been?

And what about that poem I asked you to write for me?"

"Sweetheart, that's the thing. You seem to have confused your genres.

For I write poetry, not children's fairy tales, so I guess you’re shit out of luck.

By the way, are we still on for tonight?"

She yelled and screamed out a few mixed obscenities before her sudden departure.

When it comes to drinks and my truths.

I seldom, if ever, forget to include the ice. 

John Patrick Robbins, currently resides in Oslo Norway where he is completing his residency at the Ragnar Lothbrok water park.

He also is a currently working on a cure for open mic poetry.

He recently published his 2000th poetry collection which is a hit.

Selling five copies which he purchased under his real name Satan.

He is currently building a doomsday vault where he will help preserve great amounts of the finest nacho cheese known to man.

His publications include.

The Yellow Pages, The Highschool Year Book, A Bathroom Wall In Hooters, The Dollywood Review, Weird Tales, Field & Stream, He is also a multiple Grammy award winning artist for his album no one has ever heard.

He is not a real person he is merely part of the Matrix.

He also can teleport and raided your fridge last night and stole all your oodles of noodles.

And the greatest bio writer on earth.... and Valhalla


Sunday, August 14, 2022

The Butcher of Ramsey Street : Case Now Closed by John Doyle

"Bet he drinks green tea too", a more slim that usual detective notes,
"and it's the only thing he orders from the café underneath the railway arches, and orders it "on the go"', with one hand on the mobile phone to his ear, I know, 

I've seen it before, on his tail, leaving St. Kilda for Fitzroy. 
He calls the girl behind the counter "Magda", even though her name is Radomila,  
but hey, that's ok, lol, they all say.

Benjamin fell asleep in '36, wild and barren Australia mourned, 
urban Australia mourns 37 different years, Benjamin's returned, "a different Benjamin" McGurk tells me. 
Someone else me told me he was the devil 

stealing lover's dreams from TV screens, old ladies choking on scones at tea time. 
He swiped their love like hidden diamonds, 
like a hoodlum with a sack marked swag. 

He stands no taller than a rock, 
doesn't walk on water, or convert oil to petroleum from sin. No surprise - that no frame, 
that no bone, is huddled in the bastards of his skin.

I stood there listening to the spirituals with my sisters, back down on the Yarra-bed, 
the waters running dry, the songs smothering the sky - suddenly - the butcher's cut loose 
on the empty houses; I dry myself quickly, 

tell my sisters I love them, fix a flashing siren on my roof, 
leave with my Mojo on safety-mode. 
When I got back to Australia they'd changed from pounds, shillings and pence, into dollars, 

when I got home to Fitzroy, the beer was flat and the blues had turned every colour but blue; 
the queens of London City said their prayers 
but did not have any souls, I was the only one in the precinct who didn't find that to be a surprise.

I'm listening to Dylan from '97 onwards, that creepy, somewhat silent stranger, in the hat and waistcoat who sits near the back of the church on a Sunday and is either the first or last to leave,
there's no middle ground with that guy,

I take a leaf from his scripture, a feather from his hat, 
I walked into Danny's dreams, warned him that previous night, there's a killer on the loose around the spinal cord of town, hanging like an electric fence over water, 

the fire in the heart
or the grease smothering the machine
which one burns you faster?

Hey Danny, which jackdaw swoops to snip your holster?
something came up long before daybreak
koshed the moon from behind;

dragging that moon behind a tree
he went through its pockets
poured a stale shot of rum on its lapels -

his footprints in the fields remain like fossils,
Danny's wheels covered-over everything else - a shame, that boy
covered over hard evidence - instead of sleepwalking before getting permission from the dark - like the way

gold bullion looks like dirty water coming from a poor man's 
rag-stuffed well,
dogs, usually match-stick legged, keeping a three-score distance,

the way the bones in the waves
subtly tune to a jazz session, sleeves wet, 
windows welded by the sun, everything beautiful stolen, though safe for now, behind closed doors; safe for now, I said...

The killer I see sipping on his green tea
is an ideas guy, giving investors a solid return on their capital
still calls that waitress Magda - no-one's laughing.

If I want to find redemption I guess I better sin to get there first
a tribal elder told me - I drew a necklace of swollen sorrows, handed down from the Southern Cross -
the first sin I needed to commit was to let the drowning man die of thirst, no green-tea left, sorry Benjamin, we've ran out of coffee too -

the second sin I committed was to let Galilee run out of turpentine;
On the thirteenth day they went to stone me
but I'd escaped on a swinging saloon door, shortly before midnight on the ninth, 

making Geelong as the Southern Cross 
signed off for sunrise,
dust-swarms, shaking trees, puzzling the elders in Gippsland,

The third sin I'll commit is to accuse Ben Avraham of theft, false-selly, that is.
When he turns to slap my cheek, he'll knock me 37 years back in time; last time I drew my blade on Ben
His barndoor missed my face by twenty or twenty seven years, there'll be no sad and sorry miss, this time of all times.

It's worked. My soul is damned anyway, best to shoot a hangman down,
then hang like a walk-on extra, immortal in a hail of lead -
ant-sting holes on a cooled-down saddle, as I clip-clop into Jackson's Hotel,

37 years of old ladies' dreams, sipping tea politely
with an old-time horse of war, Nell apologizing to Helen, 
Edith says "it's cucumber, not ham" they want on their sandwiches.

Danny's left his doctor's office meanwhile,
cycling down Flinders
I meet him head-on, we cycle back to '85,

in the dream that we remember
like in the dreams I used to have
so long long ago, Reggie C. was my witness, "he was on a tram going down Collins, about to meet me for a beer"

Reggie told the courthouse
who turned and roared "show him mercy, your lordship!" all in tandem -
this was how the butcher of Ramsey St. wound-up swinging

from a gallows in the outback,
instead of on T.V. screen
like he'd planned for me.

Me, you ask, how am I doing now?
I wound up an expert marksman in the Salvation Army,
driving my Neighbours crazy, blowing brass instruments, from time to time

John Doyle became a Mod again in the summer of 2017 to fight off his impending mid-life crisis; whether this has been a success remains to be seen. He has has two collections published to date, A Stirring at Dusk in 2017, and Songs for Boys Called Wendell Gomez in 2018, both on PSKI's Porch.

He is based in Maynooth, County Kildare, Ireland. All he asks is that you leave your guns at the door and tie up your horses before your enter.

Monday, July 18, 2022

Little Girl Feet by Kevin M. Hibshman

There once was a man named Pete.
As a man he was complete.
He took steroid injections and offered protections for folks
toughing it out on the street.

He was tall as a mast and you could call him big-assed with just enough curves to make it sweet.
His muscles bulged and he had names for them all.
He walked with pride, boasting a manly stride and was definitely packing some heat.
There was just one thing amiss and it interfered with his bliss.
It was hard not to notice his little girl feet.

He was no fey intellectual.
Never went metro-sexual.
He keep his private life quite discreet.
He wooed all the ladies and fended off the crazies.
He could serve up the potatoes with the meat.

He bit into bottles and lived life full throttle.
He didn't like to swim with the dudes at the gym and instead of showering made a hasty retreat.
He wore shoes two sizes too big and stomped around in heavy boots at the gigs.
He never had to try to catch a hottie's eye.
Poor Pete could walk through a wall and could've had it all
if only his toes weren't so remarkably petite.

Kevin M. Hibshman has had poems published in many journals and magazines world wide.
 In addition, he has edited his poetry zine, Fearless, since 1990 and is the author of sixteen chapbooks including Love Sex Death Dreams (Green Bean Press, 2000) and Incessant Shining (Alternating Current, 2011).

His current book Just Another Small Town Story from Whiskey City Press is currently available on Amazon.