lesser than less – rob plath

samuel zeller

i
want
to
feed
this
skin
to
the
wind
on
a
rooftop
&
sit
silently
kicking
my
bone
legs
over
the
ledge
in
the
moonlight

hourglass

Rob Plath is a writer from New York. He has published 21 books over the last 25 years. He’s most known for his monster collection A BELLYFUL OF ANARCHY (epic rites press). He lives alone w/ his cat & stays out of trouble. See more of his work at www.robplath.com

Photo: Samuel Zeller

miscarriage in train car #4 – lauren napier

letoh

The salt of embryo and ocean
The grounding of the shoreline and rubber tread
Here is where true nature is seen
Here is where fleshly goodbyes are said

Parallel lines in a hotel room
A parallel universe unfolding within a surreal frame
Enfolded in two familiar arms
Embracing again for the first time
Renewal – the act of letting go

cropped-dead-bird-clip-art.jpg

Inspired by all forms of energy and art, lauren.napier takes comfort in the written word and in creative performance. She lives within a lush realm of bittersweet melodies and phrases alongside her black feline, her guitar, and typewriter. Wherever lauren might be, her work may be found online at punkrockdoll.com or followed upon instagram.

Photo: Jonathan Pielmayer

two of pentacles – robert beveridge

two of pentacles

The table sits in the corner. It
is brown. The fixture over
the table holds four lights. One
is burnt out. One is missing.
The other two are low watt
bulbs. The walls on two sides
of the table are beige. Chairs,
mismatched, face the table
on the other two sides.

The table is empty save a single
sheet of paper. It bends upwards
at the edges as if it had been
folded into thirds, placed
in an envelope. If there was
an envelope, it is not there.
It has been moved from the table.

A thread dangles from between
the two expansion leaves. It is
attached to the body of a spider.
The spider catches every draft,
drifts in the wind on the end
of the silk. The spider cannot
read, does not know what
the paper says. The Russian
Blue who lives in the house
jumps up, bats at the paper,
knocks it from the table.

cropped-dead-bird-clip-art.jpg

November 2018 marked Robert Beveridge’s thirtieth anniversary as a publishing poet. When not writing, he makes noise (xterminal.bandcamp.com) in Akron, OH. Recent/upcoming appearances in Pink Litter, Triadæ, and Welter, among others. 

11:58 pm, our lady of the broken cup – joshua espitia

our lady

Church lets in around midnight
Sunday heading into Monday
to the bells of clanging dishes
and music too loud coming from
open kitchens where high dropouts
laugh, yell, and sling runny eggs
for masses of people dying for
an opiate to soothe minds lingering
on things lost and opportunities
missed while they sit in red vinyl
booths lighted by window sign
promises that they’re welcome,
24/7, for the best food in town,
the flickering pink neon casting
cold halos around heads bowed
over black coffee praying that this
time they’ll get that job or win on
that scratch off ticket, or maybe
tonight he won’t be filthy drunk
looking for love or blood or both,
or she’ll walk through the front
door and sit down with him and
everything will be like it used to

They leave their offerings in wads
of ones folded around loose change
for white-shirted, chain-smoking
angels to carry home for the laundry

SBGS December

Joshua Espitia is a former managing editor of The Windward Review literary journal. He has received Texas Intercollegiate Press Association and Haas writing awards for his short fiction and has twice been a panelist at the People’s Poetry Festival. Currently he lives in Corpus Christi, Texas, where he writes bad comedy for the The Vent Daily and pays the bills as an ESL teacher.

Photo: Chris Liverani

winter horoscopes – brice maiurro

1 horoscope

sagittarius

Sagittarius

Your love life is in shambles this winter, Sagittarius. Having lost sight of the importance of your relationship, things will be a bit rocky but don’t fret. For ten thousand dollars, you can franchise a Taco Bell, and then immediately burn it down in a beautiful post-capitalistic display of your undying love for your nearest and dearest. Your lover, enamored by your passion and rationality, will come running back into your arms and peace will be restored in your romantic zones.

capricorn

Capricorn

We just really are starting to worry about you, Capricorn. The 100-piece puzzle was cool and the 1000-piece puzzle was a good challenge but now you’ve locked yourself in Toys-R-Us for the last sixty-three hours and have been shouting that you are the Banana King of the Taj Mahal and that you demand at least thirty percent more bananas. There’s more to life than bananas and puzzles, Capricorn. Please try and remember that.

aquarius

Aquarius

This winter, you will decide to travel to a warmer climate and book a trip to Australia. Unfortunately, Aquarius, your plane will fly right over the Bermuda Triangle and come crashing down, leaving you on a mystical island with bubblegum trees and locals that have oversized hands and terrible breath. Mistaking you for Glenn Close, the locals will worship you as a god and offer you truffles and a nice bed. You will graciously accept their offers but these good times can’t last forever, Aquarius. When the real Glenn Close arrives on the island, they will see you for the fraud you are and imprison you in a dungeon where your only form of entertainment and exercise will be a DVD of Power 90, and let me tell you from experience, Aquarius, Tony Horton is super charming at first, but he gets old pretty quickly.

pisces symbol

Pisces

I’m sorry to say, Pisces, you’re gonna get stuck in an elevator this winter.

That’s it. Just a long winter stuck inside an elevator. Sorry.

aries symbol

Aries

It is important to not be too vague, Aries. There are situations you will encounter where there are decisions to be made and you may need to make decisions, or not make decisions. Just remember, Aries. What is most important is that you look at things and say to yourself “why?” and “why not?” Remember what your teachers used to tell you. If things get confusing, you can always find refuge in those places where you best find refuge. You know what I mean.

taurus

Taurus

Be very aware of time this winter, Taurus. Specifically, Morris Day and the Time. Jungle Love may sound enticing at first, but it has some pretty vicious side effects. You will fall in love with a woman named Apollonia this fall and she will treat you like a Prince, but despite how beautiful things are at first, try to take it easy on the echoing vocals, or she may cast a wicked spell to turn you into a symbol.

gemini

Gemini

This winter is a time of adventure for you, Gemini. After being told you do a good Forrest Gump impression at a party, you will assemble a Gumpesque ensemble and buy a shrimp boat and head out into the great beyond with your cat Russell who you’ve renamed Bubba and you will see the world, by which I mean you will be arrested for not having your mariner’s license, but fear not, Gemini. You will make it safely to shore before the cops catch you and then you’d better run. Run, Forrest, run.

cancer

Cancer

This winter you will discover your hidden talent for business, Cancer, upon realizing that you can do quite well in the corporate world by saying “let’s table this discussion” at every opportunity to do so. Over the course of three months, you climb the ranks at your corporate job from lowly peon to CEO, simply through the magic of those four words “let’s table this discussion”. Your TEDtalk is the most viewed TEDtalk of all time and Oprah brings back her talk show just to interview you. Of course, it’s time for your Tom Cruise couch moment, and everyone knows it’s impossible to come back from a Tom Cruise couch moment.

leo

Leo

Your confidence is your strength, Leo, so have confidence in everything you do. When you wake up in the morning, say “I am confidently waking up!” When you brush your teeth, proclaim “I am confidently brushing my teeth!” When you are stuck in traffic on the way to your job at the car wash, let the people know “I am confidently stuck in traffic!” When your boss writes you up for being high on the job at the car wash, look him dead in his eyes and say “Doug, I am confidently signing this write up!” and when you get home to eat your Totino’s party pizza and watch Alf in your mom’s basement, do that with confidence too. Alf would want that for you, Leo.

virgo

Virgo

Your Achiles’ heel has always been your anxiety, Virgo, but if you can face your fears, then there is nothing that could possibly stop you. I know that we live in a post-capitalist society where it’s dog-eat-dog and almost the entirety of human experience has been swept up into a veil of fraudulence, but look at the bright side, Virgo. If you work hard, then you can be rich and miserable for a whole different set of reasons. There’s no reason to focus on this strange digital urban landscape we’ve created where humanity is a plastic straw that runs down the sewers to pollute the ocean in a never-ending cycle of destruction. Just remember, your life may be ending one minute at a time, but time is a human construct, it’s death that you really have to look out for.

libra

Libra

The world is your oyster, Libra. One sunny day, a man in a pink poncho and uggs will arrive on your doorstep and tell you that you’ve been selected in their random drawing and you’ve won a prize! Ten thousand dollars, either in the form of a giant check or direct deposited to your bank account. Literally all you have to do, Libra, is decide what form you want your ten thousand dollars in. You’ll sit for a minute weighing the benefits of both; you have always wanted one of those giant checks, but direct deposit would be so convenient. You make a pros and cons list while the man in the poncho waits patiently for you to decide. Time continues on. It’s Spring now and you’re certain you’ve almost decided how you want your ten thousand dollars presented to you. The poncho man grows week, having slept now on your porch for months, only feeding on what little flora and fauna he’s been able to gather from your front patio. You sleep on it and keep thinking. You’d hate to make the wrong decision. The poncho man grows weary and in time becomes just a skeleton in ugg boots on your front porch and then dust in the wind. A giant check would be nice, but when will you have time to go to the bank?

scorpio

Scorpio

This winter may be an emotional time for you, Scorpio, by which I mean you’re a little bit too sensitive this season, by which I mean you cried when your Hot Pockets © finished cooking in the microwave and proceeded to stitch yourself a Hot Pocket © – themed onesie and watch Youtube videos of Hot Pocket © commercials in chronological order, insistent on singing that little jingle every time. Take it easy this winter, Scorpio.

Image result for aquemini

Aquemini

It’s smooth smooth sailing for you, Aquemini, because cool cats like you never ever jump off the funky bus. Just keep your head high, your soul fly and tell the haters see you later, gator. You’re the King of Cool and fresh to death from your blue silk suit to your peppermint breath. Ain’t nobody dope as you, you’re cooler than the polar bear’s toe nails, oh hell yes.

Alright alright alright alright alright.

SBGS December

Brice Maiurro is the Editor-In-Chief of South Broadway Ghost Society. You can find him on Instagram at @maiurro.

Photo: Josh Rangel

three poems – ahja fox

matchstick

babe on a mission

I swallow matchsticks to prevent dumpster fires,
but they just keep on sparking
into next year.
Ma says the moon hides its face.
Men hide their skeletons.
How was I to know a strawman had a viper tongue?
I threw a glass jar full of pennies at his ex, told her
count your blessings ‘cause I’m too pretty to break your bitchface.
I keep my nails done. Glitter on my lashes.
I might rattle a few prison chains.
So what? I’m carving my name
into a New York, New York park bench.
Those jesus girls keep saying Christ loves us all,
and he does. That’s why I bring packs
of cigarettes to spiritual battles.
I know what they really want. Me on a shelf.
That can be arranged.
I have a poetry book coming out next Tuesday.

marginalia

XXX

canine teeth uprooted and worn on a choker

mom wonders why you can’t wear glitter like
the other girls

murk

Little girl promises to never speak
mommy’s name, cough up

crest colored plastic, yank
the heart out with it onto asphalt

to thaw and slip
around legs of next little girl

whose mommy bow tie
knots her hair on dinner plates

after 5 o’ clock. Sharp is the pencil
mommy puts in her hair

when she wants to see light
tease her black panties, limbs drawn

by hysterical laughter. She turns
her skin in red tipped hands, strums

her ribs Orphic Hymns, pinching
sheets of flesh around fingernails.

She has it bad, this condition:
her head drops to her feet,

her feet snap at the ankles, run
under little girl’s bed,

into little girl’s closet,
wherever little girl can wedge

talks with God
between floorboards.

SBGS December

Ahja Fox is a poet obsessed with bodies/ body parts (specifically the throat). She can be found around Denver reading at various events and open mics or co-hosting at Art of Storytelling. She publishes in online and print journals likeFive:2:One, Driftwood Press, Rhythm & Bones Press, Rigorous, Moonchild Magazine, Anti-Heroine Chic, SWWIM , and more. She has also recently been included in the 2018 Punch Drunk Anthology and YANYR Anthology. A Best of the Net and Pushcart nominee, follow her on Instagram or Twitter at aefoxx.

Photo: Yaoqi LAI

two poems – D.o.t.B.

guillotine

Guillotine

Revolution cut so bloody
chopping heads eyes wide
make that bourgeois die
what beauty to hear children cry
this rage broke your calm lie
you stabbed your neighbor in the eye
kill or be killed
church bell screaming
our holy great blade watches
forevermore

 

Hunger

Teeth gnashing spit splashing
desperation crashing
breaking brittle bones
sucking on stones.

they work hard to remove
the Great Feast from their minds
leave that horror story behind
but it happens again the same time
next year.

The ground too cold frozen
more solid than a shovel
no food left in the hubble
stomach screams no more grumble.

They eye the outsiders
light bright their fires
slash their tires
and make dinner.
try and pray away their inner sinner
the meat is good
the wine salt speckled
no evidence to hide
when it’s wrapped along your inside.

Next year there are no new neighbors
no one on the outside…
so they find babies flesh
tears tastes
softest and sweetest.

SBGS December

D.o.t.B. is a Godde that currently lives in the body of K.V. Dionne. Boulder artist, poet, and photographer, they are one of the founders behind Writer’s Block and are current editor in chief of Writer’s Block zines. You can read some of their work in Spit Poet and can look forward to a collaborative poetry book coming out soon. They have many Hawk friends and Crow songs to share! 

healing projected – ghost #11

mirror 11

Famous romance novelist Nicholas Sparks once wrote,
“The emotion that can break your heart
is sometimes the very one that heals it…”

As cliche as it sounds,

I no longer believe that falling in love is going to save us,
not from ourselves and not from the inevitable storm ahead.
The clouds have been gathering over head for months now,
I chose to act like the sun was always coming back out,

The very idea that the love we share is both destroying me
and keeping me alive is hedonistic at best.
I’m no weather man but it seems to be raining red flags now,

we’ve been dancing in the streets begging for more

I gain unconscious pleasure from the pain of losing you
over and over again to the flood,
being wounded has it’s perks, after all,
I looked much the same when you found me right?

We’re just a shitty love story turned scratched vinyl record,
we can’t stop pulling the plastic back beneath our fingers

to replay the ending,

supposedly well written fantasy either
ends in happily ever after or tragedy,
and this looks more like self fulfilling prophecy.

They never mentioned fairy tales going awry at the
drop of a dime and the distressed left in the dark forest
waiting for the half slain monster,
I…I mean the prince…to swallow her whole.

I’m not convinced this model of love is worth the river running
out from under my bedroom door, worth continuing to write about,
not convinced that there will ever be an emotional payout for chasing someone who makes their living on running away.

The emotion that was made to break my heart is
the inner conflict of selfish and selfless spinning
a whirlpool depression in my chest because no one
will never be able to love you well enough to
save you from your homegrown impending doom complex.

Lead me to where this tornado begins to heal me…

It is difficult to wield my impatience silently,
analyzing the way my body detoxes you out of me
pores and ducts compiling the poisons you left
for examination,
minerals inside to extract so that
I may not forget

mental stamina halted by the crucial processing
healing is cyclical and having anxiety can alter
it’s trajectory a little but this self served circle will be completed

disguising survival as self love for the sake of saving face
while i take a second tour of the stages of grief in no
particular order, reliving my traumas like movie trailers
saved them for a dreary day such as this,

seek therapy as if I still believe someone out there has
the answers, get wasted once in a while and remember
why hopelessness is dangerous,

Can only see it when I’m bruised and
buried under it.

I find myself inspired by my loneliness,
supported only by my poetry,

ugly crying when I wake up in the same bad dream
can’t let the paranoias get the best of me, I am
letting go of what used to be
in one massive energetic release,

my aching body hoarding feelings
because that is how it is used to gaining control,

not this time, I am obsessing over my delusions
trying desperately to make them real, not this time

Naivety can in fact be cured but
using another human to witness your own healing
is a manipulation with no antidote hiding inside,
the results come out incoherent anyway

You have been alive 99 days longer than I have
With that extra time I expect you to be 99 days wiser
than I am, expect you to value your time a little more

But we all work at our own pace
and I’ve seen you pace a lot of circles into the floor
there are probably more in your future

I hope they look so much like break dancing
you throw windmills to settle the score with yourself
hope you find your answers in the flow

and start asking harder questions

The things you love the most in
the world can still be hard work,
in fact maybe they should be

Someday we will both get better at
paving our own way so that the labor
feels more like playing with your best friend

Until then we keep pulling each other’s hair out
strand by strand and catching fingers in every slammed door
this love is not the safety net that we planned for

I lose my balance every other step now

We have been crawling in and out of each other for
250 days without truly ceasing, what a polluted
cesspool of love we created to keep feeding each other our lies.

Are you still hungry? I could have just one more bite.
Spoon feed me all the reasons the wounds are still open.
Give it to me straight, what is the diagnosis?

Will the PTSD control the remainder of me
that you have not claimed as marionette parts?

We have not been on the same page since you
started skipping ahead to see whats next,
and ripping out chapters at random.

What would a romance novelist do to
heal them self from the inevitable?

Are we really just waiting around
for the dawn of the next cycle,
the point where the familiar emotion
fills us up with enough smoke and
to send out another beacon of hope?

SBGS December

photo: Noah Buscher