Friday, 21 October 2016

Always Friendly by JD DeHart

"Secret Hallway" (c) Kevin Dooley

In these digital landscapes
we trickle and tickle with words
etched in glowing cursor

Sounds meet and merge
in bound affinity spaces,
one would hope packed
always with friends

Gathered around a literary
cause, assembled by love
of writ and lit, always
submerged in the latest story

Always drafting the next verse.

Previously published in Leaves of Ink


JD DeHart is a writer and teacher.  He has recently been nominated for Best of the Net and his chapbook, The Truth About Snails, is available on Amazon.

Friday, 14 October 2016

plaint by Mark Young

One of the problems with short-term memory loss is that you forget that your short-term memory loss has made you forget that you went up to the local supermarket last Friday & discovered it full of elderly folk, many of whom were doing their obligatory filial duty & taking their even more elderly sole surviving parent—almost always female—for their weekly shopping trip. The aisles full of walking frames & skin complaints & canes & great-grandmas in trolleys, the checkouts clogged by the elderly whose short-term memory loss means they've forgotten how to swipe their cards & what numbers to key in.

& you've forgotten all that, & go up to the supermarket this Friday afternoon, & all the imprecations you'd forgotten you'd uttered last week come flooding back.

&, afterwards, you go & get petrol & have to wait for half an hour because the elderly have forgotten how to queue & park across the space between two bowsers so no one can get by them, & you, being courteous, see a clear space to park & slot into that, only to find that the elderly person two cars ahead of you who's just filled their car has forgotten where they've put their keys, & that the only station you can get on the car radio is one playing non-stop Phil Collins songs for half an hour....

& one of the things that short-term memory doesn't do is let you forget that you don't like Phil Collins. So, in penance for your intolerance, you force yourself to listen to him. & hope you forget who you're listening to.


Mark Young's most recent books are Mineral Terpsichore, from gradient books of Finland, & The Chorus of the Sphinxes, from Moria Books in Chicago.  An e-book, The Holy Sonnets unDonne, came out earlier this year from Red Ceilings Press; another, a few geographies, will be out later this year from One Sentence Poems; & another, For the Witches of Romania, is scheduled for publication by Beard of Bees.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

A Line From Patrick Bateman by Texas Fontanella

Impossible is nothing when Xbox live accounts and password recovery protocols are disabled for income tax purposes. How puberty impacts Western Union exchange rates. Extensive load-disabling cues determine basics card eligibility thru wavelength analysis plus the frequency of visually effeminate articles appearing in conversation as a indirect result of Get Smart. So check Defacebook, move on up and atomize. Solve radical equations with anagrams. Apply now adequately warm linguistic driftwood to the irrelevant literature over long distances indeed. No gravitas was eaten in the making of this erasure.

11:30ish pm 9th September 2016

Friday, 30 September 2016

Agent Orange Is Still Killing Veterans Slowly by Donal Mahoney


This is a true story told to me recently by a friend who wishes to remain anonymous. It explains his experience with the legacy of Monsanto and Dow and the ongoing effects of its product, Agent Orange, the lethal spray used in Vietnam during the war.

My friend’s brother died a slow death from the effects of Agent Orange. And the other day while at the mall he met someone now going through what his brother went through prior to his death.

He said a man stepped out of a store wearing an orange T Shirt.  On its back was, "I was killed in Vietnam I just haven't died yet.”

Roy walked up to him and asked if his shirt pertained to Agent Orange. He said that it did, and he began to tell Roy his story. He was just out of high school when he joined the service and was sent to Vietnam. He said he was in the Highlands with the Big Red One.  Fighting was intense, snipers were everywhere and Operation Ranch Hand sprayed Agent Orange day after day.  He finished his tour, came home and thought he was safe.

But all the symptoms of Agent Orange poisoning except diabetes soon appeared: breathing problems, cancer, genetic problems that he passed on to his children and heart attacks. He has fought the cancers for years. Now the cancer has returned in six locations.

He said when he first reported his health problems, the Veterans Administration denied, denied and continued to deny that they were due to Agent Orange. Finally, they admitted, after analysis proved the danger of dioxin, that he had indeed been poisoned. By this time, he had accumulated debt, had a checkered work record because of all the health episodes and had suffered for years without adequate medical care.

As Roy listened, he found it to be the same refrain other veterans had told him, including his brother. The VA knew about Agent Orange, but they felt if they kept stonewalling, the Vietnam Vets would die or just give up on getting the care they needed and deserved.

Roy said this man at the time didn't question the morality of the war in Vietnam. He went and fought, got a biological injury he did not get a purple heart for and returned to a nation that turned its back on him. No veterans in the history of this country have been so maligned.

As the man Roy met in the mall said, "The only parade my fellow Vietnam veterans got to honor them started with a hearse and ended up at a graveyard.”

Roy didn't get much sleep that night as he thought about the truth of that man's statement and remembered as well the agony of his own brother’s death from Agent Orange.


Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri. He has had work published in various countries. Among them are Bluepepper (Australia), Ink Sweat and Tears (England), Beakful (France), The Galway Review (Ireland), The Osprey Journal (Wales), Public Republic (Bulgaria), and The Istanbul Literary Review (Turkey). Some of his work can be found at

Friday, 2 September 2016

Rose Artist by JD DeHart

On delicate petal, she
wraps the story under revision.
A tome on a stem.
She weaves her narrative
among the thorns and briars
of common life.  
Whether it is bubbling pink,
painful crimson, or the mournful
color of snow, a collection of light
emerges from the bouquet.

JD DeHart is a writer and teacher.  He has recently been nominated for Best of the Net and his chapbook, The Truth About Snails, is available on Amazon.

Sunday, 14 August 2016

An Immodest Proposal by Donal Mahoney

with apologies to Jonathan Swift

The other day I was talking to a neighbor who said he has found a way to help the poor and improve our environment simultaneously. It’s no secret, he said, that we have a dire food shortage among the chronically poor. It’s also no secret, he pointed out, that many of our cities are overrun with feral cats.

Organizations already exist, he said, that trap and neuter feral cats and then let them loose again. These cats, he said, turn up on our porches, tails up, looking for food.

My neighbor is a wild game hunter who has hunted on many continents. The heads of many of his prey are mounted on his walls. He says he should not be the only one hunting feral cats in an urban environment, something he does when he is not overseas hunting bigger animals. He sees feral cats as a viable food source not only for the poor but for anyone who likes wild game.

He’s partial to a dish called “Feral Cat and Dumplings,” a recipe he shared with me after I talked with him in our alley early one morning while taking out the garbage. He had a lumpy canvas bag over his shoulder and said he had had a good night hunting. (He didn’t say anything when I told him I thought I saw one lump wiggling.)

Here is his most popular recipe for feral cat, the seasoning for which, he said, can be adapted to taste:

Feral Cat and Dumplings

Skin and cut up your cat as you would a young rabbit. Season the cat with salt, pepper, garlic, and diced onion and then pressure-cook the pieces until the meat falls off the bone. Remove the meat from the bone and save the broth. 

Dumpling Ingredients:

1 egg (preferably from a free-range hen until she plumps up enough for a future meal)
1/2 cup cooled cat broth
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

Mix ingredients with enough flour to make a firm dough. Turn dough out onto a board and knead in the flour until dough is stiff. Roll the dough out thin and let it stand for an hour. (If cooking outside in warm weather after shooting the cat, stand near the dough to wave away flies and other insects.) Slice the dough into diamond and/or noodle shapes and drop into boiling cat broth. 

Water may be added to the broth if so desired. This is recommended if entertaining guests who have never dined on cat before. Then drop the boned cat meat into the broth and simmer over low heat for at least 10 to 20 minutes before serving. It’s fine to withhold the dough and use the cat meat alone to make Curried Cat or Cat Tacos should cultural tastes make one of those more appealing.

There is a movement under way, my friend told me, to print out this recipe and post it in food pantries and local shelters throughout the world so interested parties can copy it, trap or shoot their own feral cat and then make a nice inexpensive meal at home.

My friend isn’t certain if the recipe is online yet since he’s not into computers but he said getting the recipe out to the public, here and abroad, is what’s important. He sees it as a step in the right direction for feeding the poor and ridding our environment of feral cats.

Eating feral cats, he said, is a lot cheaper than trapping and neutering them or aborting captured females, something proposed by a new organization that he says is called Planned Cathood. He says he’ll give me a brochure on Planned Cathood later on.

I asked him if he thought one might grind up feral cat meat and make quarter-pounders with cheese, tomato and Bermuda onion on a toasted sesame seed bun. Children, I mentioned, often love burgers.

He said he thought one of the cats in his bag was just the right size and probably marbled enough to whip up some thick burgers for his family that night.

My neighbor is proof that there is no end to the inventiveness of man when it comes to helping the poor and at the same time cleaning up our environment.


Nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize, Donal Mahoney has had work published in the United States, Europe, Asia and Africa. Some of his earliest work can be found at 

Thursday, 21 July 2016

This Dark Thing by Natalie Crick

This dark thing that sleeps in me,
It steals from me so I am left with nothing.
I am blameless, Godiva.
The murmurings are alive.
Watching you dully from my bed
I have taken the pill to kill.
I mourn my own death,
Drowning into the night.
My tears could devour
The ocean. I want, I want.
I have lost myself. But that is not enough.


Natalie Crick, from Newcastle in the UK, has found delight in writing all of her life and first began writing when she was a very young girl. Her poetry is influenced by melancholic confessional Women's poetry. Her poetry has been published in a range of journals and magazines including Cannons Mouth, Cyphers, Ariadne's Thread, Carillon and National Poetry Anthology 2013