Tag Archives: Lyric poetry

overwhelm somebody

By Lucy Cundill

memory of you begs the best of me / 
every night this week down on 
two knees relearning / the word bloody 
relearning the word sorry / I wished 
for every part of you but got nothing 
back / but ashes / this is insidious 
this is warfare this is Saturday night 
and Tuesday evening and ‘I love you’s scattered
between kissing / you are a part
of the worst parts of me / to say the least 
about it you are a part of everything
to say enough to overwhelm somebody / 
overwhelm somebody / live this life the hard way
live this life the heart’s way / live this life on your knees
in chapels and cathedrals in city after city / not yet memorialised
in sandstone but close / but close / not yet memorialised in flagstone /
but close / not yet memorialised in acid / but close


Lucy Cundill is a poet living in Norwich, England, where she studies English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia. She has been published in Full House Literary Magazine, Bandit Fiction, Concrete, the Life Lines zine, and the UEA Undergraduate Creative Writing Anthology. Her work and further information can be found at futiledevicez.carrd.co.

Heart Stone (semiprecious)

By Allison DeDecker

For years I carried my grief with me
but the razor raw edges kept catching 
on my fingers

tearing up my pockets

So I threw it in a tumbler; 
set it to spin until it came out
smooth as an unbroken heart.

Now it nestles in my palm
weight pressing against my pulse
the polish reveals threads of crystal 
storms swirling across the surface

I wonder if those storms will ever blow over
spin smaller and smaller 
until they disappear.


Allison DeDecker is currently based in Yuma, AZ. She draws inspiration from day to day life, current events, and the natural world. Her work has been published in the Colorado Crossing Literary Journal and is forthcoming in Pile Press. She can be found on Instagram

The Definition of Insanity

By Allison DeDecker

Left to my own devices,
I’d be coiled up on my favorite corner of the couch
from the time my son went to bed
til the scent of fresh coffee wafted my way.

Left to my own thoughts,
I’ll slash a slit in my consciousness
force feed it a stream of stimulation
til my inner voice is drowned.

Left to fend for myself,
I slip into the semi-feral state that
fits my nature like a well-worn glove
existing only for that which excites me.

I left to make myself the person
I’d always pretended to be.
Convinced a change of scenery 
would change who I am.

Like a ghost left to cycle
through their final violent breaths
who learned their history and are doomed to repeat it
I always come back to haunt me.


Allison DeDecker is currently based in Yuma, AZ. She draws inspiration from day to day life, current events, and the natural world. Her work has been published in the Colorado Crossing Literary Journal and is forthcoming in Pile Press. She can be found on Instagram

County Road 18

By Penel Alden

A piercing cry cuts through the canyon’s stillness

A hawk

Whose aerial circles are seen only in fragments

Elevated above the mountain’s old oaks

You’ve seen their beginning
At first sparse punctuating across the hills
West of the highway
But have you seen their heart
At the center of veins
Dirt marked by the tracks of
Tires and coyotes?

Thick in the ravine trees eager to scrape
Their dancing limbs against
The sun sweet marbled sky

Inaudible is the cry that cuts through the canyon

The curve of my eyes leaned up to the pastel firmament

The vulnerable pink skin under nails

Pointed upwards between sight and sun

My limbs are also dancing


Penel Alden is a mediocre and degenerate academic living on California’s central coast. Her recent poetry has appeared in Sierra Nevada Review, California Quarterly, Haight Ashbury Literary Journal, and in her forthcoming collection, California (Kelsay Books, 2021).

Tracking madness

By Penel Alden

I asked Leslie Hunter
If any of the old miners
Could describe the darkness
The way they could describe their trucks

Warm familiarity
Ambivalent hostility
Caressing the machines
Tracking madness through stone’s marrow

She said their hoary beards
Smelled of things that their eyes
Knew should remain buried

What the proletariat will achieve
By expelling the excrement
Through the pipes of our collective nightmares
Is no clean exit
No flight from the Minotaur’s labyrinth
Each of us still Pasiphaë

And perhaps our only salvation
Is enveloped in the violent
Chaotic crashing of the submerging ocean


Penel Alden is a mediocre and degenerate academic living on California’s central coast. Her recent poetry has appeared in Sierra Nevada Review, California Quarterly, Haight Ashbury Literary Journal, and in her forthcoming collection, California (Kelsay Books, 2021).

Cavalry

By Pete Mladinic

Schaeffer writes:

Jeanne, before your grandfather 
was your grandfather, one afternoon
he towered in a door at the top of stairs
that led from the breezeway to a foyer:
a black fedora, full, trim white mustache,
black jacket, across his black vest a silver
watch chain.
I was five.  Looking up at him laughing I felt
alone, frozen there.

Three years later, in your cellar with its tiles
and knotty pine,
a daguerreotype from before the Great War:
his mustache a dark handlebar,
he wore a blouse, at his side a sheathed
saber, a tassel on its grip.
In the old country
he rode in the cavalry of Kaiser Wilhelm.

He towered in a door at the top of stairs,
the fedora’s tilt to one side.
Looking up I shriveled into the trim
of his white mustache,
misery white hot, balled
inside, three years before you were born.


Peter Mladinic’s poems have recently appeared in Neologism, Adelaide, the Mark, Ariel Chart, 433, Art Villa and other online journals.  He lives with six dogs in Hobbs, New Mexico.

the beats are all dead now

By Dylan Gibson

About as soon as I stopped drinking, I started smoking again.
This is how it goes, said an old AA head I knew years ago:
“always gotta keep one.”
It’s true, but for god only knows why.
The death drive, bad alchemy of the head, or perhaps
a part of the strange little litany of daily performances that are
birdsong for the American definition of “free.”

We wrote new songs to kill all our cowboys and, in doing so,
made them into monsters big enough to blot out the stars.

In my dream the elevator is plummeting from the sky
while the bald man beside me smiles without a face
and tucks his head into the corner, says “it’ll go quicker this way.”
Like some kind of weekend warrior.
But we’ve both been here countless nights before. 
Even in my dreams I’m thinking about work.

Take down the bukowski posters from your wall and concede
that moloch, mental moloch, has at last devoured us all.
When we smoked on the balcony together I told you we’d 
eaten all those mushrooms five years too early in our lives 
but it’s five years too late now and we know all the pretty colors 
are just travel ads for tropical getaways that’ve been glowing 
in the dark since the 1950s.

Maybe he’d have been a better writer if he hadn’t been so fucked up, anyway.


Dylan Gibson is an American writer living and working in Taipei. His work has previously been published in the Blue River Review.

Red giant

By Dylan Gibson

I know but not by choice a big ruddy man who’s
made himself into a special kind of machine
the mighty productive power of which lies in its ability
to erase itself from recent memory.

His colleagues and detractors alike know him to be
ever-present yet perennially useless like a Godhead, a ravenous
gaping chasm where the elders threw the undesirables,
where the suicides teetered and gawped,

a pockmarked red giant on the verge
of implosion under its own gravity.
Glowing red yet ever dimmer in the twilight of his 30s,
doggedly stumbling on well after last call,

scouring the recesses of 3am
for some last trace of 25.


Dylan Gibson is an American writer living and working in Taipei. His work has previously been published in the Blue River Review.