Four Poems by J. Archer Avary


this is new:

homemade pizza

with your daughter

who used to hate me

and I like it:

this new dynamic

we will eat this homemade pizza

and watch all the Harry Potter movies

from the beginning, starting tonight,

the three of us, together



Lady Ghislaine in a sundress

captured in a polaroid

deep in the archive

marked evidence

Lady Ghislaine in the Canary Islands

a revolutionary in a tartan suit

with shoulder pads

farting rooibos tea into paper cups

for the fawning media

when darling daddy went for

a forever swim off her namesake yacht

she put life on autopilot

grooming and molesting with

the rich and famous

Lady Ghislaine in a jumpsuit

captivating in prison orange

exhausting her appeals

not so photogenic anymore


adorable girl in a sundress

w/ french bulldog on a lead

steps onto the train, captivating

w/ a blueberry elf bar aura

sweet cumulous vapour

she is bronze & long of femur

flecked w/ glittery minerals

a cascade of golden curls

on lithe shoulders

men on the train stare openly

she seethes thru oversize sunglasses

hates the male gaze but is used to it

thighs tight together

denying perverts a view

other pax lean in to scratch

the brachycephalic bulldog muzzle

snorting & wheezing, it wags

its nub of a tail

laps up the attention

i notice everyone’s smiling now

– even the perverts –

as i crave a Heineken


a Pomeranian barks incessantly

some goth girl in tall platforms drinks

cheap pink prosecco from a plastic tumbler

printed with the union jack for the platty joobs

some cunt of a deliveroo driver

tosses bread crumbs to pigeon swarms

both species gather outside the mickey d’s

fighting for someone else’s crumbs

a saxophonist goes on the busk

strictly karaoke hits to a boom box contraption

free-styling ‘stand by me’ in the wrong key

better stick to songs you know


give me a cabin

high in the lemony pines

where i can eat steak all day

and play the banjo

show me how to whittle

i will make statues of people fucking

sell them to tourists from a roadside shack

and i will sustain myself

give me a hot tub

high in the lemony pines

somewhere to soak my bones in champagne

let me find clarity here, in the altitude

i will play the banjo

between bites of rare steak

i will make a statue of myself fucking

the hole in the ozone layer

(it will be my best seller)

give me a reason and i’m gone

maybe i can ride out the next pandemic here

high in the lemony pines

soaking my bones in the hot tub


she does something special                        every day

    brings home                                     a slice of cake

takes two bites             spreads the rest in the garden

   for the birds               we watch from the kitchen table

as a curious magpie swoops in             to check it out

as it turns out…                             magpies loves cake

 J. Archer Avary farms cactus in the windowsill where he writes poems and stories. He wants to finish a novel one day but lacks focus. Sometimes he goes to hot yoga, but most of the time he makes excuses. Twitter: @j_archer_avary

I Can’t Confirm This Really Happened

It’s Saturday afternoon and I’m sticking to the couch watching the Dodgers. My eyes lower and blot out sections of time like an old slide projector and I can’t tell you a single thing happening in the game. I flip the channel to fútbol on Telemundo and wish that for just one second baseball announcers had the fiery passion of their Spanish broadcasting counterparts. I flip the channel back and for one supreme moment the games bleed into each other and laconic Vin Scully screams GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOL at a Dodger home run with the frenzied zeal of a revolutionary atop a lit keg of dynamite. The remote loosens in my grip and I am taken to a beautiful dream.

Simon Nagel is a writer from Edinburgh, Scotland. His works appear in Ellipsis Zine, Flash Fiction Magazine and Taco Bell Quarterly, among others. Look him up online at and find him on Twitter @simon_nagel

I Don’t Watch Baseball, But…

I think it would be more interesting

if there were trenches and obstacles.

Some netting that players have to crawl under.

Mud pits. Occasional gator.

Or parallel pitches with parallel games.

Whose outcomes are tied together. But

the 2nd pitch plays with hot-crossed buns

and catches with aprons.

Perhaps, at the beginning of every game

a silly walk is randomly chosen

and strictly enforced.

In order to sit in the dugout

players must make all their equipment

from raw materials. A companion show

leading up to the season, tracks

each player’s skill and progress.

I’d like it if the size of the ball

waxes and wanes by 50%

according to the lunar cycle.

Maybe a race of random toddlers

decides who starts at bat.

The winning and losing toddlers

get guaranteed prepaid college educations.

Mid-game, for 1 inning

a malfunctioning tennis-ball-launcher

could do all pitching. Points count as usual.

Teams specially recruit for chaos-handlers.

One game per season could

be played entirely on stilts.

Final ball could have an enclosed secret message.

Revealed at game end by a ceremonial cleaving.

Then read aloud by a slam poet. In rare cases

it might change the way we see the world.

Ren Pike grew up in Newfoundland. Through sheer luck, she was born into a family who understood the exceptional value of a library card. Her work has appeared in journals such as Train, FEED, and Pithead Chapel. When she is not writing, she wrangles data for non-profit organizations in Calgary, Canada. Find her on Twitter @sputta

According To You There’s Nothing Sexier Than Keanu Reeves In The Movie Hardball And Anyone Who Thinks Otherwise is an A-Hole

truth be told

the way



hits pop-ups in practice

his button-down shirt flung open

baggy sweats flapping in the wind

secretly does a number on me,

no lie.

if i were the President 

my first official order of duty

would be to have

that scene

played on one long continuous loop

at the Met 24/7

365 days a year

because why the hell not?

i can only hope that we’re blessed with more

Keanu sports movies soon

particularly a rasslin one

since that’s what true cinema is all about baby—

just ask Marty Scorsese.

i know he’ll agree with me.

Shawn Berman runs The Daily Drunk. His chapbook, Once Upon a Blue Shell, is due out this Spring from Close to the Bone. He tweets a lot about Adam Sandler. Find him on Twitter     @sbb_writer

I Don’t Know About Iowa

I don’t know anything about baseball

Except that Kevin Costner liked to play Catch with his dad, 

not in heaven but 

In Iowa.

I don’t think I know how to spell Iowa either

But I hope I got it right.

I didn’t go to Iowa


(If you build it she will come. 

They built and so I

Came) (but not to Iowa)

So I don’t know if Iowa even got built at all.

Anyway I digress

Instead of going to Iowa

I saw two baseball games at two different stadiums played by four different teams.

Both times a kind man I didn’t know explained the rules to me. 

And what I learned was this:

There are hotdogs and beers, and bats and balls, there’s ninths you get to the bottom of, and there innings but no outings though people do get outed, and, crucially, 

Kevin Costner does not come out at every match

(It’s not called a match)

And neither does his dad. 

Which is a shame bc I think they would like the hotdogs, and probably the beers too. 

Perhaps they only play in heaven, which might be  Iowa.

I haven’t been to either

So I guess either’s fine.

Lucy Wallis is a writer from London who can currently be found in Paris. Her lifelong goal is to be a morning person, but that’s not going so well right now. She edits the Zine Near Window and can be found on twitter @thelucylist

The Boys

the sun beats down on my crossed arms

I watch the kids two rows down

gulp from half-empty Mountain Dew bottles

hot dog backwash sloshing as they cheer

hold their gloved hands up up for the foul ball

and the men a few seats to the right

who probably have names like Ricky or Hank

and drink beer in place of water blow smoke

from twice lit cigarettes and puffed out chests

like territorial primates that skipped work

to knock one of the kids onto concrete

and snatch the ball from underneath them

and all I can wonder is Where are their mommas?

and feel the urge to jump up and snatch the man

who looks like a Ricky up by his collar but instead

I watch the kid sip from his Mountain Dew bottle

a moment of silence and Ricky and Hank

are scratching their balls and throwing shit

and I ask myself Do they even realize it?

I listen to the folks beside me sing along

to “Sweet Caroline” and watch the boys take

a seat and oh how I fucking hate that song

Lindsey Heatherly is a Pushcart nominated poet and writer from Upstate South Carolina. She works as a pharmacy technician at a psychiatric facilityWriting is her second love, her daughter being her first. Her work can be found in various online and print journals, such as Pithead Chapel, Emerge Journal, Red Fez, SVJ, Versification, Trampset and others. Find her on Twitter @rydanmardsey

Knuckleball Sandwich

Not all home runs are created equal

Tatis, bat flips, Bartolo

The one thing that unites us

Constantly excites us

The rush of blood

The rush to the mound

Helmets thrown

Gloves off

Blows traded

Like low level prospects

Benches clear

With vows of showing

What a real knuckleball

Looks like

Televised bar brawls

With sixty guys

Jostling and sparring

For supremacy

More repercussions

And unwritten rules

Than I’ll ever know

Tuning into The Show

For the promise of something

More than sport

More than the romanticism

of high summer

The allure of pettiness

and grudges

You see in any workplace

Exploding with a bean

Or in the only place

Throwing behind someone

is the ultimate form

of disrespect.

Scott Cumming never considered himself to be a writer until recently, but turns out he has some stuff to say. He has been published at The Daily Drunk, Punk Noir Magazine, Bristol Noir, Fevers of the Mind, Versification, Close to the Bone and Shotgun Honey (upcoming). Catch up with all his misdemeanours on Twitter @tummidge

A Cookie Tin of Fools

My wife keeps photos

of ex-boyfriends in a blue cookie tin

in a drawer next to our bed.

Sometimes she will ask

how come I never want

to have my photo taken.

I don’t want a photo of myself

to end up in a blue cookie tin

in a drawer next to our bed.

Jason Love is a writer from New Jersey. He is working on a novel You can find him on Twitter at @jason_love1.

Someone Has My Sweatpants

Someone has my sweatpants 

(and it’s obviously not me)

Those many tracking e-mails

turned out to be a work of fiction

serialized over several days

And the “packaged received”

confirmation at the end was like

a drawstring strangling the truth.

My wife has tried to comfort me,

not just the way the sweatpants’ 

scrunched bottoms would have

hugged my jilted ankles,

but by texting the post office,

which can only confirm the vendor

sent it to the wrong address,

somewhere on this very street,

received by a person whose morals

are apparently as elastic as

the waistband of my joggers and

who refuses to do the right thing,

assuming I’ll never notice them

walking past the house in 

medium-sized men’s maroon

sweatpants, whose failure to arrive

means my legs now slide into denim

and khaki as though they had 

made reservations for a Swedish

massage but wound up getting pulverized 

by a Shiatsu specialist instead.

So now on my daily stroll

I keep vigilant, a sense of outrage 

and righteousness blending like

polyester and cotton, certain that only 

once I spot the culprit and yank 

what’s mine right off their lower limbs

that I will at last be able to relax,

lounging in the baggy sense of 

justice that someone fleeced.

Shane Schick is a poet, founder of 360Magazine, content marketer, and DadX3.

Black Coffee

In here
it’s the little things that conspire against you
tiny fragments of frustration fill this factory
my least favorite of all being the fact that
they give you access to 24-hour coffee
sugar seemingly endless in supply
those tiny single serving sweetener tabs by the hundreds
stirrers in abundance
but never any milk, yes,
in here
even caffeine consumption
is on their terms

Andi Talbot is a poet from Newcastle, England. They have released two chapbooks via Analog Submission Press, “Burn Before Reading” (2019) and ” Old Wounds // New Skin” (2020).  They are also the Poetry Editor for Periwinkle Lit Mag and co-host of the Choose Poetry Choose Life open mic zoom event.