Thursday, February 27, 2020



I don't want to die but it's something to
do, not that I want to do anything
but play baseball and eat burritos and
watch TV and go to movies and read
comic books and tell dirty jokes, I mean
I don't mind someone telling 'em to me
and I'm only 10 and no one dies at
10 unless they're murdered or drowned or
have cancer or burn up in a car crash
or some country's air force bombs them but then
we're all dying is what they swear at church
and Sunday School, some faster than others
but whether you're 10 or 100 you
never stand still, so to speak, you move on

into Eternity, that's pretty much
religion, not that it's pretty but that's
life, ha ha, and I guess if folks had no
fear of death they wouldn't bother with God,
they'd play baseball and I mean all the time
or a lot more of it, then fun would be
everybody's Eternity and this
morning after Sunday School I told my
teacher that maybe God doesn't want us
to believe in Him or doesn't care if
we do so long as we don't hurt others
but when we do apologize and ask -
no, beg - for some forgiveness and leave it
at that. And when I said Goodbye, she didn't.

Still Warm

I love Satan--I'd like to see the look
on Miss Hooker's face when I tell her so,
which I won't. She's my Sunday School teacher
but I can't seem to get her attention
the way I want, the kind of attention
that's called love, the kind of love that's romance
and engagement and marriage and then come
babies, as many as we can pump out
though I'm not sure how, exactly, I'm just
10 to Miss Hooker's 25 and that's
pretty old, 25 that is, too old
for me to figure right now but if she'll
wait until I'm 16 maybe she'll go
out with me, on a date, on a real date
I mean. But the only love she likes is

the love of God, it seems, and Jesus and
the Holy Ghost, so what I've got to do
is grow at least enough until I start
shaving, and have a voice like a real he-man,
and driving would be good, too, so we won't
have to walk or hitch a ride or ask my
father to take us to the picture show
or a restaurant. The Korn Dawg King's good.
She has her own car and drives herself to
church every Sunday but how will she
rest her head on my shoulder if she's at
the wheel? Of course I would take over but
I'd rather have my own car--pickup truck
would be better, with that bed in the back
where we could lie and gaze at the stars, which
I know a lot about because up there's
Heaven, or somewhat beyond them, where God
hangs and prayers go faster than light for
Him to listen to and decide which ones
He'll answer. So far He hasn't answered

mine, or if He has I don't recognize
His language but I bet He's smart enough
to speak English if He really wants to.
The only thing Miss Hooker loves is my
soul but it's my heart I hope she'll jump for.
This morning before class she warned me that
I'm going to go to Hell if I keep
bringing comic books to church, even
reading them at home--I should be reading
the Bible, she said. Yes ma'am, I said, like
I meant it, but I lied, and lying's sin
and sin upon sin piles up to Hell. All
she cares about is my immortal soul.
Fooey--there's more to immortality

and I'd tell her so but the shock might kill
her and there I'd be, in our portable
classroom after Sunday School with a dead
Miss Hooker on my hands. Before I'd call
anyone to rescue us I'd give her
a kiss right on the lips while she's still warm.
There's probably a law against that but
there wouldn't be any witnesses save
God and Jesus and the Holy Ghost and
I have faith that they won't spill. Maybe that
will be the answer to one of my prayers
and the Hell of it is I didn't ask.
I'd better not tell her I love Satan.
Last night I dreamt that I did and she said
So do I. Then I dropped down dead, and woke.

I have had poetry published in Ascent, Chiron Review, McNeese Review, Adirondack Review, Weber, Florida Review, South Carolina Review, Carolina Quarterly, Arkansas Review, Poem, South Dakota Review, and many other journals. I have authored three books of poetry: Buffalo Nickel (BrickHouse Press, 2004), The Weight of the World (BrickHouse, 2006), and The Story of My Lives (BrickHouse, 2008). I have taught university English in the US, China, and the Palestinian West Bank.

Monday, February 24, 2020


Album Review of:


(Own Label, 2020)

direct from: 6488 Gale Ave, N Sechelt, BC, Canada VON3A5

John Lyle would only be different if he wasn’t the same. His bruised voice is a strange addiction. You take a hit, you need a regular fix. Even doing a sweet three minutes of tight group waltz-time he’s still a wry groan away from the shadow on a penitentiary wall. He’s a gasp away from asphyxiation off the grid. He’s a leaky dam, aggravating ripples in gravity where love dies in dishonesty. He emotes low-down tales as intimate as poems, as rich as diamonds, with kneejerk rhythms and a rattlesnake bite. Songs about the guy who swears he wrote “Chantilly Lace”… you KNOW what I like! Or the old buddy watching TV cop movies, in which he’s dragging the river for the body of his soul. He sings about a pocketful of ‘Bad Weed’, and running around in circles ever since he lost the Grateful Dead. He lets the words spill out, or pitchforks them in. Just don’t step on the “Heavy Is The Head” boogie backbeat. “The Thing About The Blues” nudges the MGs with Chris Nole’s Booker T organ, as John hits a smooth guitar groove, with nifty instrumental interplay around the reflective “The Rest Of Your Life”, or the solo “It Helps You Sleep” where infinity and eternity hang by a thread. Co-writer Diane Williams adds vocal harmony to “The Blood Of Someone New”. There’s also a hidden track (on the special edition) which reignites ancient loss and love beyond death. When John Lyle wraps up all your cares and woes he infiltrates them into the remnants of a song, with strength in its differences. He doesn’t necessarily know what he’s doing, but he’s doing it again.


Andrew Darlington is a major poet and writer on music and culture. You can find more of his work at

Saturday, February 22, 2020


'STIR-CRAZY' is an original acrylic painting completed on 11 x 14 inch stretched canvas by Cierra Rowe. This painting is one of many included in my ever-growing 'HELLESCAPE' Collection. Stir-Crazy is currently priced at $50.00

The comforts of indoors are, for the most part, plentiful. You are shielded from weather, noise, strangers and most disturbances. You have a sense of privacy, comfort and familiarity that compliments routine. More often than not your survival is mundane because your needs are easily satiated. Your food, water and personal belongings are mere steps from where you stand. What happens when you confine yourself to a place for a prolonged period of time? How long before you question reality? How long before you no longer know who you are or why you're here? When does ''home'' become prison? How long before you go stir-crazy?

Find Stir-Crazy here -

'VISITOR' is an original acrylic painting completed on 10 x 10 inch stretched canvas (deep) by Cierra Rowe. This painting is a painting that stands alone, being that it is not included in a collection. Visitor is currently priced at $50.00

Visitor is a scene set within a doorway to a room. It questions who you invite in to your life and who you leave out of it. What are your reasons for doing either and what consequences arise from each? There is one spirit present in this painting and the candles show light within the darkness, which is a theme I frequently touch on within my art. As I mentioned before during an interview, I sometimes veer off into someplace else while I paint, meaning that my themes may sometimes morph into other themes.

Find Visitor here -

Cierra Rowe is from rural Kentucky, USA.

Friday, February 21, 2020


Jailhouse Confessions 

are not as rare 
as one would think
after the guilt and want 
of freedom
and unscrupulous snitches 
looking for less time
all conspire to expedite 
the process
and the guards 
that don’t leave bruises
and the warden/mayor 
up for re-election
so incarceration can remain 
privatized and turn a healthy profit
locking more and more away 
so the others all have jobs
and then there are the 
mentally ill bused in 
to 3000% capacity 
after the hospitals closed
confessing to anything 
put in front of them 
so the books can be cleared
and none of the men.

Gullible Fish Pulled from Ancient Streams Again

The heightsean dizzy,
no wonder the dead don’t come up for air,
I haven’t been marginalized since they stopped scrawling 
rolling bookshop indecencies in all the margins;
it’s a barn cat’s dust and greying beards of scraggle,
bedroom symphonies to fallen basement gods,
itching nefarious ivy, questions of biological enhancement,
the yang and the ying in sudden quizzical agreement:
boney dino exhibits, mason jar pantries, gullible fish pulled 
from ancient streams again… 
the reason he has not called is because the telephone 
has not been invented in any real sense,
the ear piece hearing only what it wants to hear
while the mouthpiece tries to get elected;
it’s wires crossed off the list,
electrical flim flams in the stumbling cross-eyed zeitgeist,
that measly way the swear jar over the fridge never gives back,
munition dumps full of old arguments you never won,
dispatchers of drones working their way back out of the hive;
I’ve never seen a Minotaur, food trucks are just bulls with wheels
and a single horn…
Scratchy records from discount mountain tops,
 the air so thin it must be dieting. Ryan Quinn Flanagan is a Canadian-born author residing in Elliot Lake, Ontario, Canada with his wife and mounds of snow.  His work can be found both in print and online in such places as: Evergreen Review, The New York Quarterly, The Rye Whiskey Review, The Dope Fiend Daily, Red Fez, and The Oklahoma Review