Ross Vassilev, Editor. Submissions are now closed. Thank you to all contributors over the past 2 years; it’s been great reading everyone’s stuff. All the archives will stay up here at AM 2.0

and also here at

and here at

and here at

for everyone to read whenever they want. Once again, thanks to all readers and poets alike.

Posted in submissions | 14 Comments

Days of Cloth

by Candy M. Gourlay

Thin winter, this year of death –
funerals abundant as wild ivy
clawing up suburban walls.
A starving need is growing
like algae in my belly.
I seek proof from death columns
in the Classifieds, like dope
to dull a nagging sense
that we were singled out –
stoned on knowledge
that we all go the same way.
People die.
I threw up before I left the house.

Black ink of another eulogy
bubbles acid in my gut.
Red wine in a highball at ten-am
has become my means to settle
trembling hands and voice.
Below its scarlet veil, the ache persists.
Since his suicide, people
have dropped like Chernobyl flies.
Processing relatives, life is a high
speed liquidizer blowing blades of reason.

Scribbled words on scrap paper
substitute worry beads.
Absently, my fingers roll them
into a cigarette.
I would give a toe to smoke them.
Pieces of me want to explode
with laughter, to drown the quiet
with a spray of raucous hysteria.
Silence is a lawnmower trimming sanity.
Middle-aged women in outdated hats
greet me. Surely they are not as old
as they look.

I seek solace in the gardens
of remembrance.
Six months since summer
pretended to be autumn, since
soft rain fell out of heaven
while we interned his ashes.
More gravel than ash – like discarded
fragments of shell.
Like many things, they are different
than I had imagined.

In all this unnamed grass
where do I find him?
Eight footsteps from the bench
twelve from the oak.
With downcast eyes, I watch
ants move house.
My mother says she can feel
the peace, says she senses
the presence of rest.
I sense neither.
I am bitter and cannot disguise it.
The sky doesn’t care, it’s blue
and water sun pisses down
through translucence.

Inside the cold tomb of worship
to a god with whom I argue
I receive silent nods from faces
whose names I cannot recall.
Cloth of invisible blood stains
shrouds a small coffin.
Robes a mile long walk the plank
to alters of incense and small
bells on ribbon echo into stone.

I imagine Sunday sermons
to educate the masses
‘before it’s too late’ emphasised
with water, a hundred burning candles
and young boys wearing dresses.

I wonder if the priest remembers
when we blasted these leaded lights
with ‘Every Breath You Take’
while shell-shocked mourners
poured from church doors
after the funeral; or how we sang
‘Imagine’ and -everybody hurts…
sometimes- chipped voices
trailing to a twelve string guitar.

He signals me to the pulpit.
I unroll my cigarette eulogy, clear
the sawdust from my throat:
‘a precious lady left this world
during the small hours…’
Cold sun burns a hole through stained
glass windows and maybe normal
is about finding an audience
just as desperate.

Give me one and I promise to perform.

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updated links

I just updated the links section, resurrecting many “dead” zines using the Internet Archive: 🙂

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by Anita McQueen

The streets
my only escape

nonchalant walk
at first
then running
faces in windows
yellow eyes
hidden hands

a crescent moon
lighting a dancing crowd
where the new world begins.

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Memorial Day 2010

(for Heather)

I’ve never understood the rhetoric of Memorial Day
and the honoring of those heroes who
gave their lives for our country.
Honor the dead, by all means yes, but
please spare me the propaganda
about how they gave their lives for freedom.
Terror and carnage know naught
of lofty ideals.

In my experience, it was rare indeed for
someone to give his life willingly, and
that was usually for comrades, not country.
Most of our hallowed dead
had their lives wrenched from them,
screaming with rage
as they convulsed in agony,
desperate to staunch life’s ebbing,
youthful longings and
dreams of love
forever in abeyance.

Today, Memorial Day 2010,
I learned that a friend
just lost her nineteen-year-old brother,
killed in Afghanistan.

Today, Memorial Day 2010,
I am reminded of what
Joseph Stalin once said,
“One death is a tragedy;
one million is a statistic.”

To truly observe Memorial Day,
we need to acknowledge the barbarism of
sending our nineteen-year-old sons and daughters
into harm’s way,
regardless the cause.

To truly observe Memorial Day,
we need to embrace tragedy, not
by the one, but by the million.

by Paul Hellweg

Posted in Paul Hellweg | 3 Comments


by Jay Passer

I roam the streets
in need of a fix.
her body is the city,
bridges closed,
bus lines clotted,
power out.
I’m paranoid,
delusional, deviant,
unintelligible, derelict,
criminal, shabby,
and lost.
she is a world paved over with grit.
I am a basketball court
at the corner
of a block
at 2 o’clock in the morning.
I roam the
streets of the
city in the
rain in

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The Biggest Loser

by Don McIver

Videos stream the oil dumping from a pipe
5000 feet below the ocean surface,
and the brown,
goopy, molasses like substance
is scooped up in a reporters hand
from the side of a boat.
Interviews are granted,
political observations,
independent investigations,
destroyed fisheries and marshlands,
birds coated in oil,

A black cast iron skillet
warms on an electric stove:
water beads then steams off
as I drop a chunk of butter
on the surface.
The butter melts and becomes what it is: fat,

Tabloids announce
this diet caused this:
Glossy prints, before and after,
inches gone,
belt sizes shrunk,
photographic evidence
of the trimming of fat,

I look at my oversized gut
and see the molecules and globules of fat
just below the surface of my skin.
Oversized cells
storing fat for some explosion of energy
that my body doesn’t use anymore
so it sits there,
obstructs my view.

A bear pokes at a raspberry bush,
digs grubs from a downed tree,
scoops a live fish from a riverbed,
and fattens,
layer upon layer
as it stumbles through summer
towards hibernation,
slowly burning the fat,
it stored for the winter.

My grandfather melted tallow
and string together to make candles,
read by candlelight into the small hours of the morning,
finally blowing the flame out,
flame that survived by burning oil,

A high school kid,
crawls under my car
and unwinds a nut
as the black oil,
from the engine drops into a bucket.

I look at the cracked skin on my heel,
dry, the skin flakes away
as I rub fat,
oil into it to keep it from flaking more.

A husband looks at his new bride
on a beach towel on South Padre.
She turns over and asks that he rub oil,
fat into her skin.

A poet puts a blank disc into his computer,
clicks on plastic keys
and listens to the fan rev up
as the tracks are burned onto the disc.
He takes the small plastic circle
and spins it around his finger.
It is smooth to the touch,
hardened oil,

We live in a house that is
powered by fat.
Drive to work in a car that is
powered by fat,
sit behind a computer screen that is
powered by fat,
made out of plastic that is
made by fat.
We are fat.
Fat executives write press releases
and brag about how the Deepwater Horizon
was the new record holder,
a rig capable of drilling a hole
25,000 feet below the ocean’s surface
making its owners a lot of fat cash.
Then something

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Nato kills 100 civilians in Libya raids

Posted in politics, Uncategorized | Leave a comment


by Doug Draime

I couldn’t tell whether she was
a man or woman at first. I took the
bottle anyway. It was four in the morning
and the rain was beginning to fall,
as we huddled together in the alley off of
5th and Temple in downtown L.A. The Night
Train was smooth going down warming my throat and
stomach. After passing the bottle back and forth
a few times, I found out her name was Sally.
She was younger than me; she took off her Cincinnati
Reds baseball cap, and her hair was matted and
filthy, but through it all, a radiant shiny black.
She asked if I wanted some sex. I told her no, I was
too tired for that. She seemed relieved, but shot me a
quick disgusted look. “You’re not a fag, are you?”
she asked. “No,” I answered, “just real tired.”
Sally was from Baltimore. Had been living on the streets
for over a year, and when she couldn’t stand it
any longer, the women’s shelter at the mission.
Her father raped her.
Her brother raped her.
Her uncle raped her.
Her mother broke her arm and called her a whore,
throwing her out on the streets when she
was 16. “The fucking world sucks, “ she said. I nodded in
agreement, taking another long pull from the bottle.
We sat huddled, talking together till the rain stopped
and the sun was breaking out over the downtown
skyline. Pigeons flew in the morning light overhead.
I left her there about 6 a.m. sleeping up against a cardboard
garment box, and headed back to my apartment in Silverlake.
It’d been 3 long days of booze, speed, weed,
debauchery, madness, lies and violence. Little
of which I remember, but I do remember
waking up in that stinking alley
next to her warmth, with no hope but the bottle,
no desire but to warm myself, no thoughts,
no future.
As I walked out of the alley onto 5th street I
looked back at her sleeping peacefully,
and in the light and fading shadows of
morning, she was almost beautiful.
After these many years of my life, of drugs, booze,
marriage, poetry, divorce, love, resurrection,
friendships, poverty, prosperity, death, homelessness,
children, betrayal, rage, faith; the endless nowhere shit hole jobs
and all the rest of the moments
which brought me to this moment, this memory,
my tears saturate the paper for Sally,
and I raise my fist to the world,
for her, myself and all the rest of you.

Posted in Doug Draime | 1 Comment

with no peaceful resolution in sight

by J.J. Campbell

trailer park

small white town
in ohio

a bullet goes
through a trailer

the police are

a deputy investigating
the complaint pulls out
her camera to take a
photo of a footprint

that deputy is
shot in the face

a shootout ensues
with her dead body
caught in the middle

another officer is

swat is called

hours pass with
no peaceful resolution
in sight

gunfire erupts

all caught on

suspect is dead

either by his
own hand or

no one really
cares at this

happy new year

Posted in J.J. Campbell | Leave a comment


by Alan Catlin

after reading Jackie Sheeler

After my mother died
the city cop in Midtown
South Manhattan recognized
the writing on the evidence
envelope as his own,

recalled the unattended
death crosstown in
Martha Washington Hotel
for Women as one of those
not-so-routine cases you
weren’t likely to forget,

said, “That room she was in,
it might be a bit of a mess.”

Like someone might be a
“little bit pregnant”
or “Unresponsive at the scene,
maybe dead for days.”

What he should have said
was, “It’s a fucking horror story”
but even that would have been
a lie.

It was worse than that.

Ten times worse.

Posted in Alan Catlin | Leave a comment

Mostly Basie with a Little Bach

Whenever I see a new woman, I know
I should look at her hair and her eyes and her smile
before I decide if she’s worth the small talk
and the dinner later
and whatever else she may require
before she becomes taffy,
pliant and smiling.
But that never works for me.
Whenever I see a new woman,
what matters to me is never
her hair or her eyes or her smile;

what matters to me is her saunter
as I stroll behind her.
If her moon comes over the mountain
and loops in languor, left to right,
and then loops back again,
primed for another revolution, then
I introduce myself immediately
no matter where we are,
in the stairwell or on the street
and that’s when I see for the first time
her hair and her eyes and her smile
but they are never a distraction since
I’m lost in the music of her saunter.

Years ago, tall and loping Carol Ann
took a train to Chicago,
found a job and then one summer day
walked ahead of me on Michigan Avenue
while I surveyed her universe amid
the cabs screeching, horns beeping,
a driver’s middle finger rising.
Suddenly she turned and said hello
and we shook hands and I saw her smile
dart like a minnow and then disappear
as she frowned and asked
why was I walking behind her.

I told her I was on my way to the noon Mass
at Holy Name Cathedral and she was welcome
to come along. The sermon wouldn’t be much,
I said, but the coffee and bagels afterward
would be plentiful, enough to cover lunch.
And Jesus Christ Himself would be there.
She didn’t believe me, not at all,
and she hasn’t believed me since.

That was thirty years ago and now
her smile is still a minnow
darting here and there but now
it’s more important than her saunter
which is still a symphony,
mostly Basie with a little Bach.

And I no longer traipse Michigan Avenue
as I did years ago looking for new moons
swirling in my universe. Instead,
I take my lunch in a little bag
on a long train from the suburbs
and I marvel at one fact:
It’s been thirty years since I first heard
the music in her saunter
and Carol Ann and I are
still together, praise the Lord.
Who can believe it? Not I.
Carol Ann says she knew
the ending from the start.
Lord, Almighty. Fancy that.

by Donal Mahoney

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new issue of Gutter Eloquence

One of my fav zines, I finally found enough free time to check out the latest release!

–Ross Vassilev

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Anytime Mintues

by Lawrence Gladeview

ever wonder
on their
cell phones?

please hold

[cue cute piano music]

please stay
on the line
is important
to us
and will be
in the order
it was

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by Gary Beck

Puny dreamer of caravans
riding the subway
with mindless drools
dead, but seemingly sleeping,
rattle the paper every corpse
for stations
(time for motions of illusion)
come like ermine visions,
conductors soliloquy mumbled,
the Canal Street of the soul.

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Posted in RANDALL ROGERS | Leave a comment

The horses

by Joseph Farley

Orwell knew the work horse’s fate,
Labor for years pulling wheeled carts
And the iron blade of the plow.
Old and sick the glue factory waits,
While the pigs who run the show
Sit on the lawn in afternoon sun,
Raising cups of tea to salivary lips,
Oinking over pastries and tasty tidbits,
Firm in their belief that Darwin
Blessed the rich as much as god,
Giving them the right to rule and whip
All that toil beneath their snouts
For a hard won day’s pay.

*Joseph Farley is the former editor of Axe Factory. His books include Suckers, For the Birds, and Longing for the Mother Tongue (March Street Press).

Posted in Joseph Farley | 1 Comment

his heart knows the way

by D.B. Cox

— for R.L. Burnside (Bluesman 1926-2005)

in front of a soundless band
in a blinding-white suit
a delta angel’s
guitar speaks—
a timeless language
no longer spoken
by common man—
an indigo solo
in free-time
by meter—
an uncluttered
country road
to a secret destination
the congregation
moves in sync
with the non-beat
to ride the bus
to the end of the line—
the guitar-man
sways in place
eyes closed
driving blind
no need
for highway signs
his north mississippi heart
knows the way

Posted in DB Cox | 1 Comment


a little cart
table to table
busing dishes.

i’ve watched her
a thousand times.
don’t know why
but for the first time
i see her
as a
sexual entity.

through flank
but a bright
kind face

she has no ring.
i wonder
if she’s
one of the bosnians
whose husband
died in the war.

she has
a gentleness

as if the venality
and bloodletting chorus
of the world
are poison to her.

this makes
my heart
reach out
across the diner.

i ask myself
if i could
be true to her.


i would
piss cold rain
on her heart

like all
the rest.

by Justin Hyde

Posted in Justin Hyde | 1 Comment


by John Rocco

After the $30 lap dance
the nineteen-year-old stripper
told me
that the world was going to end soon
next year
two years the latest
and this was only her
second night working at the club.

After the second $30 lap dance
told me the government was
secretly weeding out the population
and soon it wouldn’t be a secret anymore.
the government was going to clean up
the world and kill most of the people
and the only place to go
to survive
would be the wilds of Australia
and she was going as soon
as she had enough money.

After the third and fourth and fifth
$30 lap dance
I didn’t care about the
Apocalypse anymore
I just had her
step on my
hard dick
with her high heels
her long brown hair
drowning my face
my hands running up
the long legs that
would outlive
us all.

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Snow Storm

by John Rocco

It’s late: after 3 AM
New York blasted on snow
all night long
covering everybody everything
streets cars bars houses buses buildings
and the women I know
who don’t
talk to me anymore.

I wonder where they are
the women who don’t talk to me
anymore. In bed with other men,
watching TV, cooking, online,
drinking, smoking, writing, fucking.

The night is quiet
killed in snow
with the quiet of the moments
I was in their rooms
the women who don’t talk
to me anymore
looking at their stuff
and their beds.

Snow makes me think
of them
the women who don’t
talk to me anymore
because they used to be
really there, everywhere
covering everything
soon to me gone completely
when time makes it so
with the snow falling.

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A Novel Observation – American Truth Chronicles #10

by Craig Firsdon

Today you can walk down any street,
cruise any highway,
look in any window
and see nothing but unwritten novels
on the virgin canvas of the human spirit
sacrificed by illiteracy and ignorance,
epics that would make Gilgamesh
as sweet and unimportant as the Three Little Pigs.

The truth is children no longer sit and listen
to stories from their grandparents
of times when things where different,
when things were “better”,
before technology, terrorists, politicians and Hollywood
fucked things up for this generation,
the next and the foreseeable future of humanity.

What I would give to see tears
and smiles on the youngest of us.
Just one singular sensational moment
for that brief flicker to appear in a little one’s eyes
and then extinguish itself
before eventually fueling the fire
that burns through their fears
to ignite immortal passions and dreams,
a childhood fable exploding to life, becoming reality.

Afterwards you will come to one conclusion,
and only that one, simple, undeniable solution:
Things are not as they should be.
The machine is broken
Life is broken.
Pinnochio’s dreams have come true
giving away hopes and dreams to be a human boy
forever living in a prison of strings
spun by our own mistakes, fears and ignorance

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Uncle Sam and Pol Pot

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Surrounding a Nuclear Weapons Plant, October 1983

by Mark Blaeuer

Scramble to a fence and pasture off-complex:
a sutured green, a mask for ICBM triggers
(plutonium spheres, each the size of a child’s ball).

Nearby, a Sony boombox: World Series, Baltimore
and Philadelphia. Philadelphia, despite enmity’s
link of one town to another.

An organizer with a walkie-talkie signals
ten thousand souls along barbed wire.
Sunlight, Oppenheimer’s doubt thus magnified, prayers launching.

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Internal Affairs

by Kyle Hemmings

In the underground
of a mission-style house of worship,
you were a priestess
of church bingo
fixing all the numbers,
I couldn’t even win
a free space
with a city woman
who climaxed like a hyena.

When the atheists
burned down the walls
and hung all the brown-eyed priests,
you gave them false names
ran barefooted towards an oasis
of smiling wet lips.
You couldn’t take the heat
when I yelled Bingo.

*Kyle Hemmings is the author of three chapbooks of poems: Avenue C (Scars Publications), Fuzzy Logic (Punkin Press), and Amsterdam & Other Broken Love Songs (Flutter Press). He lives and writes in New Jersey.

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by Allen K. McGann

Across the table they sat in judgment
Of my actions on that day,
On a Paradise land,
Of jungle and sand,
That seems so far away.

I was taught a hundred ways
To open wide death’s door,
With each lesson taught,
I’d often thought,
With this I could do more.

Said the gods to me “every pound of lies
Holds an ounce of truth”.
To glean it out,
And leave no doubt,
This is our gift to you.

I had packed all my blessings, theories and lessons
Onto that tropic isle.
Arriving first,
As we’d rehearsed,
But we had to wait awhile.

With my key to Oblivion firm in hand
The first customer soon came by,
With style and grace,
I grabbed his face,
He knew, he soon would die.

I held him, my lessons, my theories and blessings
To glean the ounce of true,
I decided to take
A second to make
Him tell me what he knew.

Intensely listening, the judges sat
As I began to speak
Of muffled moans,
And broken bones,
And spirit much too weak.

“Between the begging and praying,
I had gleaned all that I could.
I promised the peace,
Of a quick release,
If the info he gave was good.”

“Then orders I gave for a recon,
Though no rank I had to give.
My orders were right,
For after the fight,
Each of us did live.”

I looked on the Brass at the table
And thought I’d better say more.
“I sent him to the gate,
Of oblivion to wait,
For the others we killed in this war.”

Across the table they sat in judgment,
Of my actions on that day.
On a Paradise land,
I’d tortured a man,
For reasons I could not say.

“Before we begin deliberation,
There is something we must know.
Can this gleaning you do,
To anyone who,
Has information we’d like to know?”

“Aye Sir” I said to the table.
The deliberations didn’t take long.
When they came back,
They patted my back,
“Son, this is where you belong.”

There are countries you’ve never heard of,
And wars, on T.V. won’t be seen.
Many languages spoke,
Many languages wrote,
From them truth I have gleaned.

My gift for gleaning truth works best,
When I cause physical pain.
The Generals didn’t mind,
“It’s done all the time,
Just look at the history of Spain.”

The details of what may have happened,
I can neither confirm nor deny.
Because right or wrong,
My loyalty’s strong.
Details go with me when I die.

It was an honor to serve my country,
But time came to focus on me.
I wanted to find,
A place for my mind,
And still be all I could be.

I went to work in the Private Sector,
But for truth, they didn’t care.
They said “Punish with pain,
And our money regain,
They’re thieves, it’s only fair.”

I soon learned there was no Honor
In the pain I was paid to inflict.
After many bruises from bashings,
And several limb detachings,
It was starting to make me feel sick.

Somehow I’d lost my direction.
I was drowning in a quagmire,
For I’d finally seen
The difference between,
A soldier and sadist for hire.

When I realized I had sullied my Honor,
Karma came like a bombshell,
Soon the maimed and the dead,
Crawled into my head,
Turning slumber into my private Hell.

Though I’d tarnished most of my Honor.
My Service, with Virtue still glows.
I’m proud of my past,
That protected your ass,
From shit-storms, you’ll never know.

Posted in Allen K. McGann | 3 Comments

Warped American Dream

by Doug Draime

No one in my
home town knew
the connection
Little Richard
Norman Mailer

I would listen
to Long Tall Sally
the flip side
Jenny, Jenny
on my 45 RPM
locked up in
my room
for days,
while I read
Mailer’s White Negro

My father and grandparents
wanted to have me
and my chicken shit friends
bad mouthed
me behind
my back,
because I
listened to
nigger music
and read
strange books

Sex/ drinking/
reading and
rock ‘n roll
were the only
things that
filled me with
life and
Everything else
was dead
and false

I was surrounded
by bigots
and the ignorant,
even those my
age whose
spirits and
had been
blotted or
wiped out
or maybe
they were born
that way:
poor white
the mutated
off shoots
of the warped

Posted in Doug Draime | Leave a comment