Visceral by Linnet Phoenix

Linnet Phoenix is a poet who currently resides in North Somerset, England. She has been writing poetry for years. Her work has previously been published in ImpSpired Magazine, New Verse News, Rye Whiskey Review, Punk Noir Magazine, Heroin Love Songs, Horror Sleaze Trash, Eighteen Seventy, Rusty Truck and by Shrouded Eye Press in Open Skies Quarterly and Dreamscape. She has poems in the upcoming Spring 2021 edition of Poetica Review and others. She also enjoys horse-riding in rainstorms.

Visceral 

‘What would you like?’ 

he asked. Her mind reared in reply.

I’d like to fuck you with those lights kept on

so I can stay staring in that sombre face,

watch as those fathomless dark eyes adjust, 

see excitement flicker as they register intent.

I want to comb catch that bay un-brushed hair, 

holding you just off pinch point to be kissed,

feel your breath caress me coffee sweetened, 

vanilla pressing my bare shoulders backwards.

I want you to snatch lift this black desire drifting, 

to raise me up onto your hip holding hand holsters, 

to wall dance me in leopard panting perspiration, 

to whisper lies like words written in love poems.

I want to go wild in the open wide countryside

with back grit scratched, grass stained smiles,

for you to carry me under the gnarled pine trees,

then make us pack howl to a white wolf moon.

“Just a cappuccino with chocolate dusting, thanks,”

she replied.

Glam rock cocks by Tina Jackson

Glam rock cocks

Children like to play with dolls

But these ones are x-rated

With sex and drugs and rock and roll

They’re truly dissipated

Tunes are made from bits and scraps

A syncopated wrecked din

Their clothes all come from girls’ boutiques

And look like they’ve been slept in

Their tackle’s all too prominent

The trousers seeming glued on

But you don’t want to get too close

You’ll possibly get spewed on

 Their spindly shanks and skinny flanks

 Make parts obscenely lewder

The lyrics of their tinny tunes

Are nursery rhymes, but cruder

Their lipstick’s smeared, their nail polish’s chipped

Their hair looks chewed and ratty

If you took them home to meet your mum 

She’d think that you’d gone batty

Knock-kneed strut on wobbly legs

Bleary-eyes ahoy

Mumbling, stumbling human wrecks

Falling-down doll boys

Tina Jackson is a writer and journalist. Her debut novel The Beloved Children is published by rebel indie Fahrenheit Press and she is the author of Stories from The Chicken Foot House (Markosia, 2018), a collection of grungy transformation tales illustrated by Andrew Walker, and Struggle and Suffrage in Leeds: Womens’ Lives and the Fight for Equality (Pen & Sword, 2019)

Don’t Ask Me by Ian Lewis Copestick

Don’t Ask Me


Things, for me, always seem to go wrong,
but that’s nothing new.
It’s been going on for far too long,
disaster is my natural milieu.

I’m not sure what’s happening with my head,
I don’t know my own dialectic.
I can’t remember anything I’ve said,
and my brain patterns are too hectic.

I’ve been falling apart since before I could walk,
as soon as I could, I wanted to leave.
I was asking why as soon as I could talk,
wondering why as soon as I could breathe.

Nearly 50 years on, and nothing has changed,
the world and it’s ways still confuse me.
Is it me, or is it life that is strange ?
I try not to think about it usually. 

Fancy That by ACF Wilson

He’s been trying to ignore the news bulletins and especially the press conferences.
Sometimes it leaked through though.
Various politicians with their porcine snouts wedged in many many troughs.
He’d heard that ” we’re all in the same boat” mantra quite a lot these past few months.
Sinking possibly, a canoe being tossed about looking for calmer waters.
The Titanic sprang to mind. Or something with pirates in it. Plenty of bloody bandits about that’s
for sure.
He’d misguidedly thought that this pandemic would maybe, just maybe, bring about a change in
people.
For the better you know?! Ha!
Time to put away that hopeless optimism at least for now anyway.
Well into the second phase of Lockdown and that hope has been doused down well and truly.
People this time round seemed tense, on edge. Less polite, fractious.
Faded rainbow signs in front windows remained but anti- vaxxers and mask refuseniks stalked
the streets and social media alike.

John tried to put this stuff out of his mind.
He had his bubble- his wife, children, the dog.
In that order most of the time.
Still had work to go to. Supermarket.
The Asda. Big One.
Worked out the back though so thankfully no confrontations with customers refusing to mask up.
Another day another wide eyed loon shouting the odds about ” civil liberties” and ” freedom”.
Not sure about the social distancing back there in the warehouse but that’s another matter.
He’s away to work now. Early doors, earphones in for the 30 minute walk, his relaxing ritual.
Cuts through by the church onto ‘ Fancy Row’, a lovely terrace of houses, bigger than most
around here, very grand, ornate fencing, Edwardian he thought.
A big guy on the step of the third house down.
Dressing gown, beard, roll up. Lockdown hair possibly, John could empathise with that.
There he is on the steps of his nice house enjoying the morning air. Maybe back inside in a
moment for some breakfast.
Just then he spits.
John can’t believe his eyes. A great arc of gob from the doorway lands on the pavement in front
of him.
Not really John’s style but he takes the buds from his ears and turns towards him,
” You think that’s okay do you? Spitting like that? Bad enough at any time but with all that’s
going on?!”
Nothing but a smirk from Spitty, not remotely arsed.
” You disgusting bastard”.
John knew how these things went.
Call someone a bastard and it escalated things. Verbals often led to physical contact.
The guy straightened as if to come down the steps raising a lone finger as further insult as John
walked away seething.


Home from work later. Didn’t always pass by ”Fancy Row’ but did today.
No sign of him though, he scowled at the blue door.
All day he has entertained thoughts of dragging the miscreant down those steps and teaching
him a lesson.
Fantastic fighter in his head, an array of punches and headbutt deployed with great ferocity and
technique.
Reality of course was different.
He would walk on by and once home regale his wife with the tale and that would be that.


Just gone 8pm. No work tomorrow, of course the pubs are shut so he’s heading to the off
licence.
He cuts across a car park just near ‘ Fancy Row’.
A cluster of youth congregated in the corner by the back of the pizza place.
Two of the gang were attempting wheelies to general sounds of derision, a bottle smashed in
the distance.
Semi-feral bored teens, worse in Lockdown somehow.
Emptier streets made their presence more visible.
John spots the Spitting Guy come rolling around the corner almost slap bang into the group and
making the mistake of barging into one of them.
Shouts of ” Watch It!” and more follow him as do the two bikes flanking either side.
Words exchanged.
He’s gesturing at them to get out of his space and attempts to lash out at one of them.
This is the cue for the rest of them to launch their attack. Pack law.
It was swift. A crack from behind and he was down. They launched at him on the ground with a
flurry of kicks.
All over in a moment , they fled.
Silence now.
John approached him.
He was conscious, bloodied and he’d be sore but nothing too serious. Blood on that beard.
Understandably shook up though, didn’t recognise John from this morning.
” Call me an ambulance please” he muttered.
” Okay. You’re an ambulance ” replied John, deadpan, continuing on his way to the off-licence.
Good luck getting an ambulance within an hour thought John, after all we are in the middle of a
pandemic.
Nice bottle of red took his mind off it all.

Five Poems from Tom Pescatore

Bio: Tom Pescatore can sometimes be seen wandering along the Walt Whitman bridge or down the sidewalks of Philadelphia’s old Skid Row. He might have left a poem or two behind to mark his trail. He claims authorship of a novel the Boxcar Bop (RunAmok Books, 2018) and the poetry travel journal Go On, Breathe Freely! (Chatter House Press, 2016).

Still Life

a creek drainage

                           –down the hill
below the development of
snow covered plastic houses
whose assembly line windows
watch the continuing storm through
clones of door clones of space
clones of lives–

               rests stagnant in milky orange night 

recedes as the oppressive aura of street lamp grows
wider
          brighter
                         definite
like a ship’s light winking out of the abyss

Salt.

through claw marks
     a frothy white piss

                                     on my window shield
fingers draw rifts in the snow

the blood wheel between my nails
                                                        turns kidney pink
like a body of stone
     salt lingers above the freezing line

when the pavement gives out the road sinks like footprints

leaves a fleeting trail
                                   like a baby’s first words
                                                                       
for the hunters to follow

exhuming the unfinished corpse

we are tasked in the painting of the village’s faces.

they are death masks made of living

soil.     worms boil up to the surface boring

eyeholes into the facade. the stench is that of

the earth.     the earth is that of death.

the mask celebrates life.     the mask celebrates

the opposite.     only at night can they be carved.

in the morning they will be fashioned. we are tasked

with the setting in place.     we make the lines

meant to become mouth with our claws. we breathe

life into the mouth with mud red lips.

we dig deep and draw the iron out.

My feet dangling off bridges

thunder

        then

the rain comes;

when I was 13 I would close

my eyes and walk across

Macdade Blvd

                        into traffic

the cars never found my body

or understood why

they just hurtled on into their future

leaving me there btw the lines

to mourn their passing

in the chamber was left one bullet

for Jami…& Roger

the trigger pulled and your brain escaped

there was no magazine but the house rang

hollow after the quake

in the chamber there was left one bullet

it burrowed itself into the wall

to die

the smoke took the form

of your youth drifting away

beneath the floorboards

the basement was bathed in your blood

A Fistful Of Poems from Ryan Quinn Flanagan

Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a Canadian-born author residing in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with his wife and many mounds of snow.  His work can be found both in print and online in such places as: Evergreen Review, Punk Noir Magazine, The New York Quarterly, Cultural Weekly, Gutter Eloquence, The Dope FiendDaily, and The Rye Whiskey Review.

Pigeon Drop

a hustle

is only as good

as the hustlers

and as successful

as the hustled

which is to say

one part gullible

and one part

believable

like following a

recipe card

old as

time.

Don’t Sign the Lithograph

Watercolours can be done in the bathtub

just as much scrubbing can be done.

Behind the ears like alleyway dumpsters.

That strange grimy build up under the nails.

A lone bathroom vanity

like the only way of seeing.

And there I am on the dead snore.

In front of nobody’s thirsty pulpit.

Don’t sign the lithograph.

Make things questionable, authentication an impossibility.

Speak a brand new language every day.

The ones you make up are the best.

Sitting on strip mall curbs with knobby knees

drawn deep into hairy chest.

A tired, dirty chimney stack way

of breathing.

Scatterbrains

The detectives showed up on scene after less than three hours sleep.

The scene had been compromised.

The beat boys walking through it as if it were their own sandbox.

A large blue tarp placed over the body.

Tarpin ripped it off for all the passing rubberneckers to see.

A large crowd had gathered.

Some of the family fainted.

Let them see it!

Tarpin yelled at some crime scene upstart

looking to preserve some dignity for the dead.

What dignity is there for scatterbrains?

asked Tarpin.

Maybe these animals will stop offing one another

if we let them look at the handiwork.

Seems scatterbrains was shot in the head,

offered Ansod.

Ansod was Tarpin’s partner.

They had both been around as long as the badge.

Neither of them ready to retire.

Seems scatterbrains made a real mess of mommy’s rental,

said Tarpin.

I don’t know where the detailing place will start!

joked Ansod.

The crime scene photographer took his photos.

Tarpin moving the camera in close

so the photographer could smell the way

the passenger had shit himself

before bleeding through the seat.

A soft spoken woman from public relations

was sent to talk to the family.

Tarpin and Ansod went to dinner.

At this bar that left the bottle on the table

and looked the other way.

Beepers turned off and most the rinsed out women too.

It was Ansod’s turn to pay.

Collecting the weekly envelope for the register

while Tarpin stood outside.

Waiting on clogged arteries

and that massive heart attack

no one comes back from.

Like a Lawyer with Twice the Lies and Half the Experience

Sit and listen to some crystal ball bitch utter the word “portend.”  Billing out at almost $100/hr.  Like a lawyer with twice the lies and half the experience.  A patterned head scarf wrapped around her head to make such things appear “authentic.”  And that cursory questioning by the door to pull you in. That simple back and forth banter you pass off as small talk looking for indicators to hit on. Same with all the burning of incense and beaded doorways only the chosen can pass through.  Spatial pageantry to assess your level of gullibility so the hustle can know how to move forward with the mark, nothing more.  Sizing you up on the assumption that the dinosaurs went extinct because of a meteorite and that you are far smaller and will fold for far less.  Paying more to know the truth, which someone else can give you as long as you have the time and want and money and that roaming dead loved one’s pension loneliness such predators are always looking for.

Eye Candy

It was Easter.

Chocolate bunnies appeared

out of thin air.

Coloured eggs hidden about

the house.

Sugar children so excited

they tore the chocolate heads

off their bunnies.

Pulling the eye candy out first

and eating that.

Beginning then on the chocolate eye-less

mass before them.

It was the same everywhere.

First the head and then the body.

Ritual cannibalism at its finest.

The tired parents full of apprehensions.

 As their little sugar namesakes

ran around making a mess of everything.

Older and More Expensive

The way you arrive at things

says a lot about where you’ve come from.

This itchy stubbled chin

my fingers run through on their way

to other things.

A back stairwell that only creaks

when you imagine the slow dying city

back into late afternoon rusting.

How everything becomes older

and more expensive.

You pay for “vintage”

while the elderly pay for

everything else.

HOA fees

above ground

level.

Service elevators that reek of sweat

the whole way down.

That klutzy 2 am way I fall into bed

with someone else’s dirty feet

right behind me.

I Could Be Walking for Charity

I could be walking for charity.

All those cold afternoons past the corner convenience

with a shortage of parking and three rusted out

garbage cans never tipped over

so that the main dumpster in back gets

all the attention, power steering always giving out

on a hill and the way a small town treats its wildlife

will tell you a lot about how it will be

if you decide to go with a married man

after your mother and half her prayer group

meet on Thursdays to pray that you see at least half the light

provided by a common 60 watt bulb

in the only upstairs bathroom.

Gaffer’s Tape

Everything will fix anything

if you blow kisses into the sinking

cavernous heart of a diamond.

And even though you know it’s all a sham,

you can’t leave the scam.

Stick around longer than you should.

On a first name basis with all known aliases.

Miss the gaffer’s tape

holding all the unmentionables

together.

Candles when you need the light.

Lonely and looking for answers.

The heart will take itself.

Give away everything for what it believes

is lacking.

I was never a skeptic.

I came to this through all the other.

Reunion by Anthony Kane Evans

REUNION

by Anthony Kane Evans

I bumped into Paul by the zebra crossing.

“How’s it going?” I asked.

“Not too bad,” he replied, “Say, do I know you?”

“It’s Mark.”

“Mark?”

“Mark Delfont.  We were best buddies at school.”

“Sorry, can’t place you.”

“We were in Mrs David’s class for English.”

“Delfont, you say?”

I nodded.

“Sorry,” he said, shrugging his shoulders and giving me his trademark smile.

“Come off it, Paul, you must remember me!”

“Look,” he said, “I have a big turnover in friends, alright?”

“Okay, take it easy.  I guess you’re in town for the reunion?”

“Yes.”

“See you there then.”

They held the reunion in Cheetham Hall.  It always had a musty smell which hadn’t improved over the years.

“Paul, how’s it going?”

“Mick, right?”

“Mark.”

“And you say we went to the same school?”

“This school, yes …”

I found myself laughing a touch nervously.

Paul turned to Richard.

“Ricky, do you remember this guy?”

Richard looked me up and down.

“No, can’t say I do.”

“Ricky, we did Art together!”

“I can’t place you, Mick.  Still, it was, what …”

“Twenty-five years ago!” I said.

We all laughed.

Mr Hartley, our old headmaster, came over.

“Hello boys!  Now, don’t tell me.  Let me guess.  Richard and Paul, right?”

“And Mark,” I said.

“Mark?” Mr Hartley said.

“You used to wear this cloak,” I said. “And we boys used to hum the theme tune from Batman.  Drove you crazy, it did.”

“Batman?” Mr Hartley said.

“Batman?” Paul and Richard said.

Moll & Zeis by David Long & Shane O’Neill

Both of these musicians were the singers and main songwriters in two separate Irish 80’s post punk / indie / rock bands. David Long was part of ​Into Paradise​, who released two albums and a few EP’s on the legendary British independent label Setanta Records and the major label, Ensign. Shane O’Neill was part of ​Blue In Heaven​, who released two albums on Island Records.

They both come from the same part of Dublin and have known each other since they were about 6 or 7, when they knocked over Shane’s TV set, rolling underneath it, fighting over which channel to watch. Their first band was a three piece group called “amuse” (small a), David on bass and vocals, Shane on guitar, and Dave Clarke (now Hothouse Flowers) on drums. They played some gigs around Dublin, including one gig where David put down his bass and walked out the main door and got the bus home. After playing on for five minutes, the other two realised he was probably not coming back. For some reason, after taking up a fan’s offer to come stay with her in Oxford for a few months, the band split up. They both did their separate thing, and later around 1996 they recorded an album as Supernaut. This is their return to working together.

Spaghetti Eastern Music Returns to Orbit with Spacey Soundscape Maxi-Single, “Blues for A Lost Cosmonaut”

Can world beat and electronica fired guitar instrumentals co-exist with luscious soundscapes of Fripp & Eno vintage and intimate acoustic vocal ballads straight out of the Nick Drake playbook?  They can and do in Spaghetti Eastern Music, the critically-acclaimed solo project of genre-leaping New York and Hudson Valley-based guitarist, keyboardist and vocalist Sal Cataldi.

Cataldi’s cheekily debut album, the instrumental and vocal offering “Sketches of Spam,” and his 2020 instrumental singles, “Her Lemon Peel Raincoat (Because It’s Raining)” and “Peace Within,” have drawn notice from critics at outlets including The New York Times, Time Out NY, Jazz Times and The Huffington Post and airplay on 150 radio station and podcasts across the globe. 

With his new maxi-single, “Blues for A Lost Cosmonaut,” Cataldi ventures again to the ambient sphere of his sonic lexicon, with an instrumental chapter of evolving minimalism with a deep space vibe. 

The piece unfolds slowly in a series of waves, an aural mediation built upon a three-note motif which returns periodically throughout the nine-plus minute composition.  Peaceful synth drones and echoed piano pads are complemented with a duo of sustained Ebow guitars and melodic acoustic guitars.  The middle movement, at about 4 minutes in, evolves to more dissonant waves and tension before returning to a calm and cavernous ambience for the concluding three minutes of the piece.

“The inspiration came from watching some old videos of the early Soviet space program, especially the first space walk by Alexei Leonov,” says Cataldi. “It was about recreating the contrasting moods and feelings that the film of this moment imparts. There’s peace, wonder and weightless combined with the realization that this could spin out of control at any moment, as it did for some early Soviet space explorers.”

“It’s just a fun exercise in soundscapes, in impulsive sound painting recorded in the wee small hours during the lonely moments of the Covid quarantine,” adds Cataldi.  The track is the final chapter of a three-piece venture into this arena started with Spaghetti Eastern’s 2020 releases, “Her Lemon Peel Raincoat” and “Peace Within.”

The single is available for download and streaming via Bandcamp, CD Baby, iTunes, Spotify and other services (Bad Egg Records 5155).  It was recorded by Cataldi at the studios aboard his houseboat in Port Washington, Long Island, Houseboat Garlic Knot Studios, and at his Sonic Garden in West Saugerties, New York (1/4 mile from the legendary Big Pink house made famous by The Band) during the Covid-19 crisis. 

Cataldi’s much-varied sound is the product of an insatiable musical soul and a record collection rivaling the Smithsonian’s. His debut album was an hour-plus journey through contrasting moods, with instrumentals inspired by 70’s Miles, Krautrock, Ennio Morricone, Bhangra, Fripp & Eno and ECM’s icy guitar great Terje Rypdal giving way to bare-bones acoustic vocal tunes – ones oft anchored on unusual tunings, with narratives that chart the course of difficult loves, in styles that range from Brit Folk to Bossa Nova.


The New York Times says “Cataldi’s funk-tinged original instrumentals and acoustic vocal tunes have a beat unmistakably his own” while Time Out New York writes: “Cataldi’s largely instrumental, Eastern-influenced jams are infused with some delicate guitar work and hauntingly moody atmosphere.” Newsday adds: “Mad scientist-guitarist-keyboardist Cataldi brings da funk and throws it in a mixer with electronica, bebop and blues.” Called “truly excellent” by The Village Voice, “a wild ride, a fun name for some very good music” by Radio Woodstock, “beautiful and unique” by WFUV’s Mixed Bag, “triumphantly funkified” by UPI and “a jazz virtuoso without the need to prove it” by Aquarian WeeklyAlmanac Weekly’s John Burdick proclaims Cataldi: “a unique voice who conjures a surprising blend of exploratory fusion, electronica and indie song craft, from the Ennio Morricone overtones anticipated by his handle to currents of Krautrock, techno, modal folk and various world music styles.”: East Coast Rocker/Rolling Stone writer John Swenson, the man who penned the liner notes to Frank Zappa’s “Shut Up n Play Yer Guitar,” may have put it best, “he’s the hippie guitarist playing to another dimension” while Hudson Valley One recently called Cataldi’s music: “Part Sergio Leone fever dream, part Ravi Shankar raga, a whirling dervish of musical creation.”

The authority on all things Beatles, The Beatles Examiner praised his debut album’s “ sharp soaring guitar jams” and called the distinctive cover of “Ticket to Ride,” “incredible, a wonderfully moody re-imagining” of the Lennon classic. Huffington Post dubs his music “the perfect soundtrack for New York City life,” while WFMU’s Irene Trudel calls it “charming melodic and off-center.” Popular Zappa fan sites Idiot Bastard and United Mutations gave raves to his reinvention of “Sleep Dirt,” a Zappa acoustic instrumental rarity, which appears on his debut CD as “Nap Dust.” Spaghetti Eastern is now enjoying airplay on radio around the globe including WFUV’s “Mixed Bag,” SiriusXM, Sonic FM, WDST-Radio Woodstock, WFMU, Oakland’s KALX, NYC-area college station including WCWP, WDFU, WVRK and WHPC and many more.

In 2020, Cataldi was making news and more beautiful sounds with “One Act Sonix,” the critically-buzzed about debut album from his spoken word/music side project, The Vapor Vespers, with noted Alaskan playwright/slam poet Mark Muro.  Cataldi is also one half of the improvisational and ambient Hudson Valley-based guitar and efx duo, Guitars A Go Go, with Rick Warren.  Their first single, a 12-minute improv opus called “The Volcano Lovers,” was a preview of their bold experimentation featured in the June 2020 CD debut, “Travel Advisory.”  A live album, taken from a series of livestream performances recorded at the Greenkill art gallery in Kingston, N.Y., will soon be released.