by Yash Seyedbagheri
Now on sale, visions of sugarplums dancing in people’s heads
which you can buy for 25% off
and still be 75% in debt
just like Santa’s elves, doing slave labor in malls
while indolent fathers drink, passed out naked in a hall.
"Sudden Changes" - AES
Once Bitten, Twice Shy
by Phoenix Leigh
Spent Christmas Eve unwrapping Jesus’ body bag
With my hands and my credit card, snow-struck.
Last Christmas, I called child protective services,
same teeth chattering, same bloody nose.
Autumn AKA The Beautiful Death
by Barratt Fierens
You are majestic decay
All ribs and brown wrap
Low dazzling sunlight across
littered muddied slopes
Good to the Last Drop
by Fred Shrum, III
The bottom of the bottle
Makes its way to my stomach
Ignites my nerves like flame
I think I made a mistake again
But I don’t know when
I don’t know what day it is
I stumbled up the driveway Christmas Eve
Sometime between late and early
What have you done
What have you done
by Theodoros Chiotis
The only thing I remember is
the faces that looked like a mural:
I was licking the globes of their eyes while
trying to figure out the most efficient combination
of benzos, anticonvulsants and knives.
chestnuts roasting on an open pyre
by CJ Knight
no christmas tree needed
nothing to celebrate anyway
feels really weird to party for god’s son
when you know he has no interest in you at all
by Vic Nogay
the live oak trees have low branches
that creak in the sway of strung ghosts,
who linger on lands bearing murderous names,
where the blood-stained banner still flies
beneath the star of bethlehem.
by Brad Beau Cohen
Concern yourself with where to simmer
in broken water is where you choose
bladderwrack skin nap shiver
of fishbones choking pipes
driftwood candles a blown wish
for deep end reek & acoustics
that ring out to explain away
the storm-wrung bath detritus
"Storm-Wrung Bath" - Jessica Rae Lewis
Park Street on December 25
by Sreemanti Sengupta
the night is throwing up its last carnivals
bored sinatras dunk their fedoras at broken elvises
i try to hold on to the vision of cold smoke
struggling against the biting wind
leaning like phantom santas unto frosted bakery glasses
"Decadence" - Sreemanti Sengupta
by Helen Bowie
The citalopram haze settled
Like dry ice on sliding doors
Vegan Christmas style dinner for 1
Staring so long into the freezer
The freezer stares back at me
last year's christmas morning
by Laia Sales Merino
we were fucking in your room while
your roommate and i shared a joint
then we waited for my taxi outside
all hungover and electric, speaking portuñol
then a couple with their kids came out all elegant
they stared at us and we all shouted
Gina Sales Merino
by Ankita Sharma
Like eerie desolate mansions
Where silence screams stories
There was something in those eyes,
Unsettling, silent yet screaming
When she pawned her only gold earring for milk
by Bob Carlton
in a corner
of the bar
by Logan Roberts
Couldn’t tell if it was the
Christmas lights or the painkillers
that made the house
burning down so jolly.
by Rami Obeid
Out maneuvering speed demons
To get dinner from the dollar store
Picking up presents
From the pharmacy
Passing out in front of the tv,
Watching Mr. Bean get his head stuck
In a turkey
by James Lilley
I jingle, the empty bottle of bells,
Swerving all the way,
Oh what fun it is to be an addict,
I always have to act the prick.
all over my new silk pajamas
by L Scully
on christmas eve
i scratched my face
until it bled
Residential School of Tongues
by Kevin Gooden
Sister Agatha nailed my tongue to the desk
Said Native language is speaking in tongues
Father Bruce stuck his tongue in my cunt
Made me recite the lord’s prayer while he raped me
Then the fuckers made us use our tongues to sing Christmas carols
It's already ten past ten and looks like
I haven't done this, I haven't done that
I'm a big pile of shit that should roll up
into a ball of candy crack and die
Taco Bell Is Open on Christmas
by Meagan Johanson
The papery crinkle
of the takeout bag
is almost like
In Red Ink
by David Hay
My mother is brain dead,
and my dad sectioned;
I have a cigarette and nothing
but time to remember
how things were when
everything was simple.
by Amy-Jean Muller
I remember when Santa came to repossess the car on Christmas Day
He rang the doorbell
and there were no surprises
then mom cried
and it wasn’t the last time
Cocktails that Show Red Light Through Them, On the Rocks
by Abigail Swire
It’s Christmas Eve and I’m alone
at a corner bar in Reno.
(Just a short walk in the cold, too dry for snow.)
I guess I was 21. It never mattered.
We spent the day in the warehouse by the tracks
making neon signs for the Passion Club, bone cold,
with a barrel of burning objects.
You say you’re no good for me. You’re going out
alone to do what you do.
There’s a man beside me going on about Area 51.
And it’s only when I get up and put on my coat I notice the
sign above my head:
“Ladies, please do your soliciting discreetly.”
by Kip Knott
The dog ate the fruitcake and shit
a festive yule log beneath the artificial tree.
No amount of pine-scented candles and incense
can mask the odors of Alpo and citrons
that festoon plastic branches like garlands.
[a friend gets laid in an unmarked grave]
by K. K.
3 AM Shower
by Austin Davis
The shampoo you left in my tub is called “Himalayan Salt.”
I don’t know what the fuck that means, but it smells like snuggling after sex
so I rinse my hair six times. I feel like an alien pretending to be human,
reading a newspaper upside down on the subway. I twist the knob
hotter and hotter until the pipes squeal inside my walls, until the pain glows on my skin,
until I can’t feel anything but my body softening to bone. The drain gurgles
something sad, as if to say, everything is random and no one cares, baby.
by Iqra Naseem
my neighbour the butcher licks sugar from his knuckles. i haven't seen his wife for days but i imagine her to be smoking a hole into his chequered flesh. he puts a hand down his throat and pulls out a larynx in barbed wire. she finds what's left of me in the kitchen sink.
fragments of a childhood nap
by Megan Nichols
desert air december early evening seat belt pinch shh shh!
soft slam window crack wait fetal position wait
watch strangers wait stay silent wait
her return her shame smell her smoke
that buzz busted headlight vengeful curb ice cream
David Calogero Centorbi Presents:
A Long Time Away From the Manger
After a hard day in His father's woodshop, Jesus and His buddies went out for wine and fish at the Garrison, a Roman bar and tattoo parlor.
They got drunk. And rebellious. Then they got inked.
When Jesus came home He showed it to his father. Joseph bowed his head, hiding his eyes.
When He showed it to his mother, Mary gently put her hands over her heart and began to weep.
Years later on that abandoned, dark, Thursday night, as He knelt in prayer in that foggy, dank, garden, He realized then why His tat--Born To Die-- pained His parents so horribly on that youthful night when He came home from the bar.
Hot Lava Holiday
by Nate Hoil
Santa took too long with my Christmas wish,
now I’m selling my soul to the Devil.
Find me tied up and gagged in your mother’s bathroom.
I’d blow kisses at anyone who cared to look.
Fuck poetry. All I hear is a leopard print g-string
rubbing against a stripper pole.
A solid 20 years old, Bina is currently living and studying in the city of Cambridge, UK, but hails from up north in West Yorkshire - God's own country. She enjoys knitting, bouldering, the colour red, hills, digestive biscuits, and forming collages out of pictures of diseased organs. Bina also likes writing and reading dark poetry (naturally).
Helen Bowie is a poet, performer and podcaster based in London, UK. Helen has one cat, and several bafflingly strong opinions on highly trivial matters. You can find her laughing at internet culture and ranting about structural inequality on her podcast @yabunreasonable, and her tweets about food, words, politics and sadness @helensulis
Theodoros Chiotis’s work has appeared in Litmus, Datableed, Forward Book of Poetry 2017, 3:am, Adventures in Form, Shearsman, Riggwelter, Prototype, Perverse, Aleph, Lune, aflimpseof, Tripwire, amongst others. He lives in Athens, Greece but his head is all over the place. Find him on twitter @selfcoding.
BRAD BEAU COHEN
Brad Beau Cohen’s (he/him) poetry has been published globally by Fourteen Poems & Elska Magazine, American literary journal Versification Zine, anthologised twice by Fincham Press, exhibited in The Hilbert Raum and SomosArt House. His erotica ebook ‘Outside These Lines’ (Berlinable) debuted at No. 8 on Amazon’s gay erotica bestsellers list. Cohen is a queer writer from Guernsey based in London. Cohen is currently approaching publishers with his debut chapbook. More information about him can be found on his website bradcohen.co.uk. His social handles on Instagram and Twitter is @bradbeaucohen
Kevin Gooden is a Canadian writer with many First Nations people in his family. He writes about numerous topics and has words at The Sirens Call, Dwelling Literary, The Daily Drunk, and others. He looks forward to the various insanities of 2020 ending in 2021, so we can get back to work on improving our regular crazy stuff, and treating each other better. He says the envelope will never move, unless someone’s willing to push it. He’s on Twitter @KevinGooden
David Hay is an English Teacher in the Northwest of England. He has written poetry and prose since the age of 18 when he discovered Virginia Woolf's The Waves and the poetry of John Keats. These and other artists encouraged him to seek his own poetic voice. He has currently been accepted for publication in Dreich, Abridged, Acumen, The Honest Ulsterman, The Dawntreader, Versification, The Babel Tower Notice Board, The Stone of Madness Press, The Fortnightly Review, Nine Muses Poetry, Green Ink Poetry, Dodging the Rain, The Morning Star as well as The New River Press 2020 Anthology.
James Lilley, 33, Married Father of three. From Swansea, Wales works by day as a network engineer, is a retired professional boxer and active Bareknuckle Fighter and MMA fighter. Has been writing as a hobby since he was young, deciding to take the hobby more seriously this year enrolling for a Part Time Degree in Creative Writing.
Vic Nogay writes to explore her traumas, misremembrances, and Ohio, where she is from. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Versification, Anti-Heroin Chic, (mac)ro(mic), Ellipsis, and other journals. Twitter: @vicnogay. Read: linktr.ee/vicnogay.
LAIA SALES MERINO
Laia Sales Merino is a poet from the Catalan Pyrenees currently based in Barcelona. Her work can be found inharana poetry, I’ll Show you Mine Journal and perhappened among others. She is currently out of work which means that she's smoking and cursing from a different balcony every week. Fuck. IG: @lai_to_the_sound
Sreemanti Sengupta hates talking unless it’s with a green dot, the ones that glow with every breath. Being naturally impractical, she is perpetually heartbroken. She edits The Odd Magazine and tweets at @sreemantisen. Read her stuff at https://senguptasreemanti.wixsite.com/sree
Yash Seyedbagheri is a graduate of Colorado State University's MFA program in fiction. His story, “Soon,” was nominated for a Pushcart. Yash has also had work nominated for The Best Small Fictions and Best of the Net. A native of Idaho, Yash’s work is forthcoming or has been published in The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, Write City Magazine, Café Lit, and Ariel Chart, among others.
A writer, artist and a compulsive book hoarder, Ankita Sharma resides in India. When not petting other people’s dogs, she can be found writing, reading or creating artworks. She has authored four books. Her poetry has been published in anthologies such as the BRAG Magazine (UK), Versification Zine and Lakdi Ka Pul-II and III. Her artworks have appeared on the cover pages of a few Indian and international books. Her latest novel ‘The Linear Tide’ is on Amazon world wide. Quite happy being a daydreamer, an over-thinker and a misfit, she posts her works on Instagram @ankita.s.26 and yells on twitter @AnkitaSharma_26