Can’t Help But Care by Ian Lewis Copestick

Can’t Help But Care


Sometimes I wonder
why do I bother ?
You can’t seem to
please anyone, any
of the time. Why not
just say ” Fuck ’em all “
and live for yourself.
Never worry about
anybody else at all.
But, it’s not in my
nature, I can’t be that
selfish. You have to
share this world with
other people, and I can’t
help but care. Sometimes
I wish that I could,
but it’s just not in me.
I’m too much of a softie
to turn my back on
them all.

The Creature by Kristin Garth

The Creature 

Science defines her by what she would hide —

two swaths of skin, her neck, either side.  Small

fraction of flesh just a few inches wide

requires new nomenclature, protocol,

it has yet to provide.  For now, amidst others, 

when you think it won’t hear, you refer to

“the creature.  Fill hearts with fear.  Your druthers? 

They never investigate, workers you 

pay to renovate the aquariums 

connect and expand.  Giving this creature as 

much as you can of your land.  Yes, still some  

restrictions for security.  Creatures have 

hidden dangers.  In water they might twirl — 

resembling even a trapped teenage girl. 

The Suburbs by Ian Lewis Copestick

The Suburbs

Private places,
privet hedges
green lawns,
and total, total
boredom. Grey
skies, identical
houses, hidden
secrets, and
desires. The
suburbs are
terrifying, nothing
is out in the open.
Not upsetting the
neighbours is the
most important
thing in life. I hate
the suburbs, and I
love them. They are
the only thing I’ve
ever known. I truly
believe that there’s
more evil, more lurid
tales, and more sick
crimes happening in
the suburbs than in
the inner city. The
suburbs are where
the criminals move
to when they’ve made
a bit of money. Nobody
looks over their hedges
so no one sees a bloody
thing.

You Are Tired, (I Think) by E. E. Cummings

You Are Tired, (I Think)

by E. E. Cummings (1894 – 1962)

You are tired,
(I think)
Of the always puzzle of living and doing;
And so am I.

Come with me, then,
And we’ll leave it far and far away —
(Only you and I, understand!)

You have played,
(I think)
And broke the toys you were fondest of,
And are a little tired now;
Tired of things that break, and —
Just tired.
So am I.

But I come with a dream in my eyes tonight,
And knock with a rose at the hopeless gate of your heart —
Open to me!
For I will show you the places Nobody knows,
And, if you like,
The perfect places of Sleep.

Ah, come with me!
I’ll blow you that wonderful bubble, the moon,
That floats forever and a day;
I’ll sing you the jacinth song
Of the probable stars;
I will attempt the unstartled steppes of dream,
Until I find the Only Flower,
Which shall keep (I think) your little heart
While the moon comes out of the sea.

The Marriage of Beauty and Beast by Kristin Garth

The Marriage of Beauty and Beast 

Paddle to skylight.  It opens each night —

imbues moonlit waters artificial

light.  Chandelier constellation to tie 

up your own crystal boat — interstitial

ritual, stories afloat.   Misfortunes forgot, 

as you focus — his face obscured by book,

descending tray of bud vase, a teapot 

of milk, pastel petit fours.  Listen, look 

then taste what is yours.  The tales alternate 

between sea beasts and beautiful girls. He 

comprehends you are of two worlds.  Sates

girl and the gills, benthic, in between

with floating fairytales, moveable feasts —

you are the marriage of beauty and beast. 

Kristin Garth is a Pushcart, Best of the Net & Rhysling nominated sonnet stalker. Her sonnets have stalked journals like Glass, Yes, Five:2:One, Luna Luna and more. She is the author of seventeen books of poetry including Pink Plastic House  (Maverick Duck Press), Crow Carriage (The Hedgehog Poetry Press), Flutter: Southern Gothic Fever Dream (TwistiT Press), The Meadow (APEP Publications) and Golden Ticket from Roaring Junior Press.  She is the founder of Pink Plastic House a tiny journal and co-founder of Performance Anxiety, an online poetry reading series. Follow her on Twitter:  (@lolaandjolie) and her website kristingarth.com

£10 per day by Ian Lewis Copestick

£10 per day


The world seems
like a horrible, harsh
place when you’ve
only just received
two weeks worth of
benefits, and already
you are broke. All I
get is £10 per day,
if you’re from a
country where you
don’t receive a thing,
this may seem like a
lot of money. But,
when it’s all you’ve
got to feed, clothe
yourself, keep yourself
warm. Buy deodorant,
shaving foam, razors,
shower gel, shoes, and
all the other little things
that you don’t think of.
Then you realise, it’s
nothing at all. I’ve paid
at least, thirty years
of income tax, so I
reckon that they must
owe me something.
I never asked them to
spend it on nuclear
weapons, or illegal
wars. So, the way I
see it, they owe me
a lot more than
£10 per day. At
least enough to reasonably live on.

Four Poems from Stephen J. Golds

My Parents Worried

At six years old 

chewing bubble gum,

I enjoyed playing 

Russian Roulette

with a cap gun. 

Diet

Stepping naked 

onto the scales 

after a shower

this morning,

the needle 

informed me 

I had lost 5kg. 

It’s as though you were 

a weight of muscle 

wasted and gone.

It is said

the human soul

weighs 21 grams,

I wondered what else 

was ripped away from me  

the day I kicked you out. 

Unbalanced

When I was 8 years old 

I tried to hang myself 

from my cabin bed 

with a belt 

because all of 

my broken toys 

wouldn’t fit 

in the toy box. 

When I was 34,

I tried again 

for the same 

reasons. 

She Always was Quicker

Like the child that discards the toy

then becomes distraught when another child 

picks it up to play with it,

I thought as I dialed, listening 

to the dial tone, wondering if 

I should hang up but didn’t. 

She’d already blocked my number & 

I wished like hell 

I’d just hung up.

Handkerchief by Kristin Garth

Handkerchief

When he will offer you his handkerchief,

it exists five states from where you cry 

inside a drawer of pine or make believe

a fairytale that you still grieve.  He buys 

the postage to a place he will not go. 

He is a gentleman you know.  Invites 

your choice of gingham or stripes.  How thorough

the gentle swipes of cotton so you might 

smell love a phone can neither show nor tell.

Unfold it like a parchment spell.  Hold it 

against your lips a spell until scent impels

(he as well, Internet omnipresent,

diction, decorum of your dirty south)

you take what you have of him in your mouth 

A Fistful of Poems from Mike Zone

With

Good god

you’re a hate-filled creature

with a rotten soul- How can you be?

after flowing down stream

in endless nocturnal love

even across the continent

in several other ancestral countries

when day broke

you went about automatically

when night descended

the heart awoke

hungry for romance

lusting for something more

hoping for something

beyond temporary

dismal eternity

Midnight raw

Charley lost- the Devil won

I’m not the man

Rumi can put back together again

Everyone’s midsummer dream

my personalized sunsetting western nightmare

fiddle fingers broken

the optimist’s desire rendered inept

pale rider coming forth

on no mere albino beast

but a bone-plated muscle car raising dust- intermingled  ashen exhaust in the scorching sun

concrete is the foundation of the funeral pyre

of what we’ve lost in the fire

voices inside- fragmented calling you “liar”

for thinking less than what is more

something cold and slick

across your nude shoulder

no words

no clothes

of your own

how could you have been empress or emperor of the world?

radical nude exposure

let me know

at midnight raw

Capitalist therapy

Masks in the parking lot

car exhaust from mad shopping excursions choking the atmosphere

a bag of half eaten fast food bakes in the heat

yes sir, Amerika’s back in full swing

no contagion here

step right up and get your realest realism

but something just isn’t right

maybe a touch of evil

under patriotic circumstances

what is the purpose of life?

“Do an inventory, rolling good times versus tumbling bad times, audit what you don’t like”

“remember it won’t work until you pay your bill.”

She entered me

She triggered something in me

while it’s sad to see her go

her brilliant presence

her vivacious form

among the simulated reeds

let’s pick them 

play the music of dead possibilities

future world loneliness

‘cause we’re not all lost to the darkness

in the disjointed harmony of illumination

I believe this to be so

Of you

Of me

Of what this world

could be

Late in coming to this…

sitting along the shore with the sand beneath my feet

  and earthen mineral tributes honoring the flesh, contemplating star dust veins watching the sun crash only

it’s really setting in an accelerated mercury retrograde kind of vision as Shiva dances and we remember Martian lives

 before the fire

 after the flood

the crystalline womb chairs

liquid gold

 constantly morphing towers

shifting with our moods

malice, manic lust, joyful tension, divine contentment,

 I remember her glowing ivory tender hands

 illuminating my insides

 as we walked to the waterway

 contemplating the cosmic odyssey

 our ashes would float and transmit

across the galaxy creating new life

ever reaching infinite forces

 in this constantly fluctuating universe of ours

 yet here I am

without you

 staring at a picture of a man

on the shore

 examining warehouse cuts and bruises

 putting my brain inside his painted hollow artist rendered mind

 tracing my own long lost newly found universal journey, it’s a time of play and wonderment

maybe the best thing to ever happen, was

 when we jumped into the fire together

letting the waves of the past wash over consciousness

 as skin and innards burned into floating ashen seedlings of living myths and holy images upon mundane sacred trails…

and good golly how fun it is to decipher it all.

Mike Zone is the author of One Hell of a Muse, A Farewell to Big Ideas and Void Beneath the Skin and coauthor of The Grind.  Editor in Chief at Rogue Wolf Press and a managing editor at Concrete Mist Press, a frequent contributor to Alien Buddha Press and Mad Swirl. His work has been featured in: Horror Sleaze Trash, Better Than Starbucks, Piker Press, Punk Noir Magazine, Synchronized Chaos, Outlaw Poetry and Cult Culture magazine.

No One Escapes by Ian Lewis Copestick

No One Escapes

I’m walking past the local
Minimart, about six feet in
front of me is a car with
loud, but cheesy hip hop
blaring out. Dope smoke is
pouring out of the windows.
In the driver’s seat, I see a
real, fucking dickhead. He
only looks like a teenager,
but he gives me a filthy look.
He’s trying to stare me out.
I see a very young, dyed
blonde girl in the shotgun
seat, and two teenage
lads in the back.
I think, ” There’s three of
them, only one of me. “
So I avert my stare from
his.
Three, or four steps on, I
begin to feel shame, or guilt.
Whatever it is, so I turn, stare
him straight in the eye until
he looks away.
But, we both know that he
won. I was the first one to
look away.
Not only did I look away
first, but I’m nearly 50
I bet he isn’t even 20.
So I’ve lost in every way
that I possibly can.
Oh well, it’ll happen to
him too.
No one escapes