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The Hunter-Fiction by Sebnem Sanders
Back in the Day-Fiction by A. F. Knott
Red Velvet, White Lies-Fiction by Hillary Lyon
Headhunters-Fiction by Gary Lovisi
Holiday Season-Fiction by Don Stoll
Milky Way Galaxy. Solar System. Earth.-Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
Angel-Fiction by Gary Clifton
Backpage Baby-Fiction by Robb White
Elegant on the Outside-Fiction by Bruce Costello
A Life Examined-Fiction by Doug Hawley
Run, Baby, Run-Fiction by J. Brooke
The Pursuit of Presley Penguin-Fiction by Michael D. Davis
Neighbors-Fiction by M. A. De Neve
Strange Attractors-Fiction by Jeff Houlahan
The Ghost of Christmas Never-Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
Best Enemies Forever-Flash Fiction by Walter Giersbach
Glitter in the Dark-Flash Fiction by Dini Armstrong
Spirit Intoxicating Babe in the Woods-Flash Fiction by Monique Saier
My Only Christmas Story-Flash Fiction by Paul Beckman
Ode to Old Brooklyn-Poem by Dr. Mel Waldman
Bacardi Taillights Machine Gun Farewell-Poem by John Short
Pearl Diver-Poem by Wayne F. Burke
Abandoned Sofas-Poem by Ayaz Daryl Nielsen
Kafka Museum-Poem by Henry Bladon
Elegy for Frank-Poem by David Spicer
Schmoozy-Woozy-Poem by David Spicer
Dangerous-Poem by Marc Carver
Eternal-Poem by Marc Carver
The Race has Just Begun-Poem by J.J.Campbell
The Endless Nightmare-Poem by J. J. Campbell
The Last Word-Poem by Meg Baird
Vision of Steel-Poem by Meg Baird
Zen-Poem by Meg Baird
Estrangement-Poem by Brian Rihlmann
First World Herd-Poem by Brian Rihlmann
Christmas Morning in an East Hollywood Hovel-Poem by Brian Rihlmann
A Season of Bailing Wire and Duct Tape-Poem by Brian Rihlmann
Cartoons by Cartwright
Hail, Tiger!
Angel of Manslaughter
The Gazing Ball
Strange Gardens
Gutter Balls
Calpurnia's Window
No Place Like Home
Dark Tales from Gent's Pens

Art by Cindy Rosmus 2019


by Brian Rihlmann


I awake

on Christmas morning

in a filthy, dusty room

to the smell

of cigarette smoke

drifting in. . . .

So I tiptoe out,

and there he sits

at the kitchen table,

holding his cig,

drinking a beer

at 9 AM

It’s him, all right:

the bloodshot eyes

with red nose to match,

the deep acne scars,

and a faint smile pasted

on that monkey mouth of his.

I pull out a chair

sit down across from him

and spit it out:

“I do NOT fucking write like you!”

The smile twitches,

increases ever so slightly.

Then he belches beer in my face

through crooked yellow teeth,

laughs, and says,

“What did you think

they’d say, kid?”

“I had a whole crazy life

of my own,

filled with dive bars,

dope and whores

long before

I ever heard your name, pal. . . .

back when the only poetry

I gave a shit about

were song lyrics I wrote

for my band.”

He nods,

leans back in his chair

and squints at me

as though he’s reading

some very fine print

scrawled across my face.

I continue:

“So now

I can’t write about

my own agonies

just because you did?

Put our stuff

side by side,

it doesn’t even

read the same.”

He cocks his head slightly, says,

“You know . . .

I think you must be crazy, baby.

I never wasted time

I could have spent drinking

to pick a fight with a dead man.”

Now I smile, as his fades.

“We all fight with dead men, Hank . . .

just different ones.”

He sits silent a moment,

then raises his beer bottle

as though toasting me,

tilts his head back

and drains what’s left

in a gulp.


Brian Rihlmann was born in NJ, and currently lives in Reno, NV. He writes mostly semiautobiographical, confessional free verse. Folk poetry . . . for folks. He has been published in Constellate Magazine, Poppy Road Review, The Rye Whiskey Review, Cajun Mutt Press, and has an upcoming piece in The American Journal Of Poetry.

Cindy Rosmus is a Jersey girl who looks like a Mob Wife & talks like Anybody’s from West Side Story. She works out 5-6 days a week, so needs no excuse to drink or do whatever the hell she wants She’s been published in the usual places, such as Shotgun Honey, Hardboiled, A Twist of Noir, Megazine, Beat to a Pulp, Out of the Gutter, Mysterical-E, and Twisted Sister. She is the editor/art director of the ezine, Yellow Mama. She’s a Gemini, a Christian, and an animal rights activist. She has recently been branching out into photo illustration, under the guidance and mentoring of Ann Marie Rhiel.

In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications 2019