The Rose of Sharon [Poem] by Larry Oakner

The Rose of Sharon isn’t really a rose, 
but it’s still a flower as real as the name 
you whispered in my ear in a voice 
rubbed smooth by a thousand hours of midnight and
smoke. The space between real and imagined 
is a close as your breath on my cheek. 
What is real are your eyes that burn as blue as gas flame 
and all that I imagine when I close my own. 
The memory of your breasts, 
like “the ghost of a rose under dew” 
haunts me for months. 
This is real: 
If I could touch the milk of your skin, 
luminous under blacklight, 
it would be real as my own. 
The fire of your hair enflames my mind 
where what is real becomes hotter because it is not 
and where the Rose of Sharon blooms over and over and over.


Larry Oakner is the author of several books of poems, including  SEX LOVE RELIGION (Blind Tattoo Press) along with the forthcoming chapbook, The Canticles of Private Lucius Swan, (Pen & Anvil Press) as well in Red Eft Review, WINK, The Oddville Press, and many others. Oakner lives in New York. 

itch [Poem] by Ben Newell

Hot blonde in a sundress
[big tits, no bra]
approaches the reference desk. 

“Can I have some of that hand sanitizer?”
she asks. 

“Of course,” I say.
“That’s what it’s for . . .”

She pumps
a liberal amount into her hand
then applies it to her ankle—

“Mosquito bite,” she says.  “This stuff takes care
of the itch . . .”

Some 20 minutes later
I go on break,
slip into the restroom
and take care of mine. 

Marianna [Poem] by Noel Negele

We hooked up on a drunken night
somewhere in Bergen Op Zoom, Holland
where I told them all outside a club
they don’t know how to live
this isn’t how you party,
you drink soft drinks first, in a soft and nonchalant environment
where you talk and joke and nag each other
while it hopefully plays Springsteen or something sexy and old school
like that and only after you’re faded you head
to the dark corners with the loud music
and that unbelievably obnoxious congestion of intoxicated
young morons stepping on your shoes and spilling their
drinks on your self-ironed shirt
and it was the first time we talked as well, though we’d seen
each other a couple of times
she wasn’t interested and I was heartbroken from a previous lover.
In the club we pretended to be brothers, who the fuck knows why
and she kept bringing me girls and I kept failing
and we drank more because of that and somewhere inside the
laughing throat of this night we all were
she danced with a black fag who danced better than her
and I watched her suddenly with the predatory eyes
of an intoxicated horny man looking at a beautiful woman
and she noticed, she noticed because I made sure of it
and she brought to us a beautiful angel, she was an incredible
blonde dutch girl with crystal blue eyes we kept looking at
as if we were on drugs, her skin incredible, which we kept touching,
and the dutch angel kept laughing
but then she told us she was sixteen and we both wordlessly
agreed that it was immoral to try for a threesome
and while the herd thinned in the club, dawn now, tired and sweaty
and completely shitfaced I got in a fight with some Turkish blokes
who were kind of right to fight me because I was hitting on one
of them’s girl
and she kept me back, kept me from getting my ass handed to me
and I pushed her aside but she pasted herself against me again
and said look at me, and I said, the fuck you want and I looked at her
and she kissed me, our mouths watered by our saliva
and after, in our hotel room we had an incredible time having sex
which is a rare case with me to be honest,
kissing her thighs, the tattoo that said “fuck you” right over her clit
and in the following weeks we were six roommates in this house and my room’s window looked outside on the back of the building, over a roof she’d place a straw chair on
where she sunbathed and read her book of self-improvement
and we talked at times, me from the window, her there almost completely nude, me shirtless, trying to look cool, smoking
a beer on my hand, noticing her face while she narrowed her eyes
because of the sun
and then she lost her dog back home and she got sad
for a long long time, nothing would help, long talks deep into
the night at Saturdays, the drugs I’d bring to her, the ice creams
and then she decided to head back and look for her dog
which is such a stupid thing to do when you’re 28
and at the same time such an amazing thing, you can’t help
but judge it and be amazed by it.
And she’s in a flight now, piercing through the clouds
and I don’t care all that much, but it’d be nice to ride those bicycles one more time with her
through these brick-paved streets, these beautiful western European roads and forests and hear her sing and hear her
say those things she was so convinced were wise
and I just hope she finds her dog because it’ll be such a shame
otherwise, y’know?

Coming [Poem] by David Sprehe

Painting you
With strings of good feeling
Streaming over your lips
Lips stretched in that so-quiet smile 
Come on your eyelids with thick lashes 
Some even lands in your hair
Dripping now down your cheek
Tongue ventures for a taste
Those are my babies
Wiggling along your skin
Eyes open
Those doe green eyes warbling space
And your giggle
I love you
I kiss you
Love is too small a word

Dominatrix [Poem] by Peter Mladinic

She: How am I dressed in the best pic you
have of me?
He: In a black t shirt and jeans with slits in
the knees.

She: What do you like in that pic?
He: Your hair, how the ends are jagged
and uneven.

She: In that pic, do you think I am wearing
a bra under that black t shirt?
He: Yes.

She: What excites you, about me?
He: You are different from other women.

She: How am I different?
He: Your power is amazing.  I think of your
big red brown bush against your milky
white thighs and belly, and think, that’s
the source of your power.  It all flows out
from there.

She: How else am I different?
He: You are bold.  You like risk.  You enjoy
toys and gadgets.  Sex as theater, finding
the extraordinary in the ordinary, and
experimenting.

She: I don’t need you or any man to tell
me what I am, who I am. I know who I am.
He: I understand.

She: It does excite me to have power over
men, to be with a man and see, hear, and
feel him begging me…for love. 


Peter Mladinic has published three books of poems: Lost in Lea, Dressed for Winter, and Falling Awake in Lovington, all with the Lea County Museum Press.  He lives in Hobbs, New Mexico.

Blue Wedding Woman by Yuan Changming

Read this fabulous short collection by Yuan Changming!


Yuan Changming  published monographs on translation before leaving his native country. Currently, Yuan edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Qing Yuan in Vancouver. Credits include ten Pushcart nominations, eight chapbooks & publications in Best of the Best Canadian Poetry (2008-17) BestNewPoemsOnline, among 1,629 others across 44 countries. 

The Colorful World of Zoe Gold

CALLGRRRRL CADENZA

twice now twice you cum 
hard, shaking, redfaced eyes rolled 
and i’m soaked 
my nipples the hardbrick spires on castles keeping watch for  woman waft for cunt heat  
drinking in your ganja’d mouth-spit at random 
i love this new piercing 
thanks 
who said that? your…voice…what 
nobody here 
on my blow-up bed in a new town’s gathering dark 
my legs need a shave and my pussy needs 
or something 
and your brain is fucking my mnemonic mound, still, 
from your bed talking dirty nasty to me before 
like on cue there’s a mirror in this 3-day favor,  
apartment from old friend  
of old jealous girlfriend now calmed to sweety & catch-ups my red-eye then uber then here 
key under hall table dr teal shower 
i’ll open for biz and the pre-deposit outcall dates 
from the site we all use, on th’ morrow 
but i’m not… 
finished with you yet 
one more 
…one  
on the floor, feet against wall on each side of it, 
the thin glass silver sheet reflects every hair and avowal and every oh fuck rrrrrhhhrrrraaaawwrrrrfuuuuuck 
and jackhammer pistonwrist and 
soffffft kittentongue gentle fingertickle 
i’m my own star in solo messy  
there to bear witness to horny and alone 
and heat of my place in time 
butt arched, pussy splayed soft rubbery queefs like panther growwwwwl  my cat my Familiar a whisper of pee its first froth an evening tidepool ‘neath my cheeks 
asshole eager for undulation for Agape for full redpink rose  fingers deep in each, meeting my eyes in incestuous self discovery i’m close to shitting my legacy of small betrayals 
and i demand your face in my trough

ATAVISME
pt. 1

a slip through a side-door psyche into a friend’s father
who paid discreet potboiling sums to eat my unwashed ass
& drink of my stream, its yellow coiled lava
of alcohol and nicotine stench
he of a black-mold america that lives
to fuck and kill its young
i to play his memory’s daughter new now to college and hugs
love you see you at break
i to wear some clothes he stole from her closet
black halter top, with the underarm rip
so maybe soon tossed
panties, not her best so perhaps not missed
stained first with my shit, set to dry..
makeup, his congealed vision of female youth tremor
explosante fixe undulating hips
smell of girl Ekstasis the labial gate soon slick soon wet
his guilt a string tied to white balloon
floating around her old room
over the house
droplets drop
his savored menarche his dream in dark basement
he readies the camera, mini-dv
and i
see Ellen’s smile my eyes through her mouth
daddy we shouldn’t
it’s not right
the sad quiet sigh of old snow
its angels long gone


Zoe Gold is/was a linguistics majorette, former meth-dive nude&toy-show stripper, escort, unrepentantly ratty pornstar, author & nice Jewish lezzie who got through it well enough to wrap up her DIY tell-all, coming soon to an online bodega near you. twitter.com/ZoeGold69