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Perfect: Fiction by Elizabeth Zelvin
Duck, Duck, Goosed: Fiction by E. E. Williams
Call Back: Fiction by Brian Peter Fagan
Hanging Out: Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
Jelly Boy: Fiction by Cindy Rosmus
Billy's First Road Trip: Fiction by Shari Held
Craps: Fiction by Steve Carr
Blackout Blonde: Fiction by M. J. Holt
Can Lid: Fiction by Frank S. Karl
Hacked Off: Fiction by Pamela Ebel
The Poser: Fiction by Hillary Lyon
Trunk Space: Fiction by Jen Myers
Catching Up: Fiction by Edward Ahern
Butcher Knives Don't Float: Fiction by Chris Milam
The Grimsby Reaper: Flash Fiction by Jon Park
Bat Boy: Flash Fiction by Zvi A. Sesling
For Love: Flash Fiction by K. A. Williams
Getting Personal: Flash Fiction by Diana Dominguez
Owen and Jessica: Flash Fiction by Joseph Carrabis
Until I Wrestled It Back: Flash Fiction by Louella Lester
Lying in Wait: Flash Fiction by Robb White
Fox Fox Fanny Cuts: Poem by Otto Burnwell
Beer and Love Songs on a Wednesday Night: Poem by Richard Le Due
Her Wicked Devices: Poem by Lee Clarke Zumpe
Looking at the Sea: Poem by Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal
Twilight Zone Kind of Days: Poem by Luis Cuauhtémoc Berriozábal
The Canvas: Poem by Meg Baird
me and the boys: Poem by Meg Baird
ode to sleep: Poem by Meg Baird
Plate Tectonics:Poem by Christopher Hivner
Seeking:Poem by Christopher Hivner
Bloodbound: Poem by Harris Coverley
Paradise: Poem by Harris Coverley
The Now Outside: Poem by Harris Coverley
Dallas County Phone Calls: Poem by Daniel G. Snethen
Two Old Ladies Arrested for Feeding Feral Cats: Poem by Daniel G. Snethen
Her Name Isn't Margo, but it Should Be: Poem by Daniel G. Snethen
Yorick: Poem by Daniel G. Snethen
After First Sex: Poem by Rp Verlaine
The New Same Goodbye: Poem by Rp Verlaine
Fishermen: Poem by Rp Verlaine
Three Years Ago: Poem by Rp Verlaine
the smallest feline is a masterpiece--da vinci: poem by Rob Plath
no typewriter or ABCs necessary: Poem by Rob Plath
my cat sleeps: Poem by Rob Plath
it's enough: Poem by Rob Plath
Cartoons by Cartwright
Hail, Tiger!
Strange Gardens
Dark Tales from Gent's Pens

Rp Verlaine: Three Years Ago

Art by Bernice Holtzman © 2023

Three Years Ago


by Rp Verlaine

Was it waitressing?
Metaphor, coming closer
to her meaning . . .

net stocking legs
spread wide
when I paid the bill.
Or worse— was I just being

The answering machine
spit out the evidence

without giving a fuck.
She was ready

for her closeup.
Her last message said
that she'd gone to L.A.
to be an actress,
but now I know
she meant asterisk.

6 months later:

on the strip she meets
a pharmaceutical survivor
who slipped, and is now pushing
illegal powders in glycine.

Watching pachucos
drag evil

he talks to her,
seeing her flesh tattooed new
but flesh still clean
he says ‟actress,
ll get old here,
or disappear
in a third-rate chorus line
with every verse queer.

“Actress take this . . .”
The pimp says ‟actress, porn
films are the new art form
take this . . . take this

the pimp says ‟Actress
take this.”

3 months later:

she ties black belt to her arm
in the bathroom of a rented club.

Cool jazz music pulses inside
as the hypodermic
slides in before the
camera cuts.

The music
t stop as the actor
enters in her and the camera cuts,

but all she sees
is her blood
'til the rush
when the hypodermic

slides in.

A year later:

men dodge rain

into peep show heaven,
slamming quarters to see
videos, see her
repeat disintegration,
repeat fade to black.

While outside, her eyes scan
cars, L.A. police cruisers she
s been
behind bars in topless, nude
as police patrol heresies
from the dreams of its gutter evacuees
her soul
s devoid of magic
s turning tricks
not quickly enough
the pimp
s rear view sees.

Even later:

Baby, I never wanted this poem,
baby I never wanted this
poem, yours.
But nobody called off
the drug assassins, who fed your flesh
to the creditors or the cheap heretics
who celebrated Mass by creating
their own, worshiping you.

'Til your blood
was cheaper than the wine
and every derelict pissed
a thousand stray trails
that all led back to you.


police says
‟Did you know this OD?

to pimp or dealer on strip.

His eyes glow dark
as the coat hanger marks
her corpse detailed.

t know the bitch”
voice trails like
too evil to die.

t know the bitch

says ‟No, No, No.

And I say
No, neither
did I.



Rp Verlaine lives in New York City. He has an MFA in creative writing from City College. He taught in the New York Public schools for many years.
His first volume of poetry, Damaged by Dames & Drinking, was published in 2017 and another, Femme Fatales, Movie Starlets & Rockers, in 2018. A set of three e-books titled Lies From the Autobiography vol 1-3 were published from2018 to 2020. His newest book, Imagined Indecencies, was published in February of 2022.

Bernice Holtzman’s paintings and collages have appeared in shows at various venues in Manhattan, including the Back Fence in Greenwich Village, the Producer’s Club, the Black Door Gallery on W. 26th St., and one other place she can’t remember, but it was in a basement, and she was well received.

In Association with Black Petals & Fossil Publications © 2023