Me Vs. The Yankees by Gina Manchego

It was always Me Vs. The Yankees…

During baseball season,

then eventually, every season.

I’d try to coax my husband into a double header, final score 69.

Instead, he would ask me to bring him a sandwich and a drink.

“Hold the mustard, Gina.”

I’d ‘accidentally’ put a mound of mustard on boring white bread. The only thing I was holding was my tongue.

It was always Me Vs. The Yankees…

I secretly wished he’d pay attention to me like he did that team.

Once during a game, I straddled him, naked on the couch.

Kissed him passionately on his neck and beard. Took a bite of his bottom lip, like I was enjoying stadium cotton candy. I let the tip of my tongue dissolve the sweetness of his earlobe.

He looked right through me at the television, even when I moved my hips into the middle of his cargo shorts.

He pushed me off and said,

“Gina, please! There’s nothing more important than this game.”

That’s what he said about every game.

It was always Me Vs. The Yankees…

He replaced date night with Fantasy Baseball league.

He’d meet his boys to talk stats, coming home smelling of stale beer and cigarettes.

I’d bury my head under the sheets, trying to take him into my mouth.

He’d yawn and turn on ESPN highlights.

It was then I knew, there must be something wrong with…


Vs. the Yankees.

I couldn’t compete.

1, 2, 3 strikes you’re out, never again will he steal home plate…

or my heart.

The game has been cancelled due to rain-or maybe those are tears. He’s got the season slump blues since I benched him.

I always liked basketball better anyways.

I still wonder though, how his new teammate likes it?

Coming in second place,

to The Yankees.

Gina Manchego is a writer and multi-medium artist. Her space on the internet is and find her on Twitter @GiUknit

Dancing to Rasputin by Swetha Amit

I waited for the traffic light to turn green. 101 was swarmed with cars, typical of the Bay Area evening traffic. An accident brought the highway to a standstill. I tuned in to my radio station. The Weekend’s Blinding lights streamed from my speakers. I stared at the streaks of orange in the sky, merged with pink. It would soon turn black, and the sky would twinkle with the night gems. Just then, I heard a familiar tune. I sat up straight as the remix of Rasputin streamed in. I felt a throbbing pain in my heart. The traffic became a blur, and the headlights faded away into the realm of my tear-filled eyes. What a rage this song in the discos back in the 70s.

James requested the song because I asked for it. Because we could both shake our heads, tap our feet, and forget our woes in Boney M’s Rasputin. It wasn’t so hard to surrender to the beats. My hand gradually released the glass of swirling cocktail, beaming with the reflections of the shiny disco lights. Red, purple, blue. Red, purple, blue. Like the bruises on my back a few days when my father hit me. For daring to date a man outside of my religion. The stench of whiskey oozed from his breath while he cussed. So blasphemous, he’d say. The wagging tongues of the neighbors caused him to hang his head in shame. This is what becomes of a motherless twenty-year-old girl with no siblings to keep her company. What’s she doing roaming around with that good-for-nothing orphaned aspiring musician? They’d pass snide remarks about my dark mascara or red lipstick. All because a Hindu girl was dating a Christian boy.

James dismissed off as malice gossip. Unhappy souls, he’d shrug his broad shoulders. The same broad shoulders that enveloped me in a passionate embrace when we danced for the first time. The same broad shoulders where the guitar rested. The same broad shoulders I longed to caress and feel that skin beneath that tight-fitting T-shirt. The first time James asked me to dance at a friend’s party, I was standing in a corner, brooding over my mother’s death. Beneath the flashy lights, he held my hand while I sobbed. Later we walked by the beach, where the sand tickled our feet. I submerged myself in his arms the second time he asked me to dance. For several months, we spent time at the discos, swaying our heads to Rasputin and drumming our feet on the floor until they turned sore.

Not as sore as the insults when my father mocked James’s musical aspirations. Not as sore as the time when my face turned red after receiving several stinging slaps. Yet those red marks did not stop me from pressing my lips against James’ under the star-lit sky on a deserted beach, a night after the disco. It did not stop me from sliding my fingers beneath that shirt and running my hands over his smooth, unruffled skin. He initially resisted but succumbed to my surging passion while the waves crashed on the shore. The sand caressed us while our bodies moved in a harmonious rhythm.

It was the last night I saw James. He didn’t show up when I waited for him on the dance floor the following weekend. The lights flashed, the beats reverberated across the dance floor, and couples were lost in each other. I stood on the side, hoping to see his chiseled face, brown eyes, and his mop of black hair amidst the flurry of lights. I stood there, inhaling the musk scent of perfumes and smoke. He never showed up. I went home and waited for the phone to ring. Hoping he’d call and shower with apologies. He never called. A week later, the letter arrived. It wouldn’t work out, he’d written. An aspiring musician like him couldn’t battle against the barriers of religion or my father’s wrath manifesting in sending goons to his house. He was beaten black and blue. Black, blue. Black, blue, he reiterated. It is for the best he left the city. And just like that, he was gone.

I never went back to the discos. I never listened to Rasputin again. I eventually married the man my father chose for me. A gentle computer engineer who listened to me patiently when I confessed about James over a bottle of wine. A man who never judged me but wrapped me in a comforting embrace. He did not have broad shoulders or a chiseled face. He had a kind heart and a thick mustache. He took me to the other side of the world, where I worked in a research lab and raised two children and their children. Even as social media surged, I never dared to search for James. Did he marry? Did he live his musical dream? Did I really want to know after these forty years?

The light turned green. The cars slowly began to move. I stared at the sun disappearing behind the clouds. It would be daylight in some other part of the world. My phone buzzed. My husband called to check every time I was delayed from my errands. As I drove along the highway, I watched vehicles overtaking one another and loud remix numbers emanating from some. The world was in a hurry to rush some to someplace. My phone buzzed again as I stopped at another signal. This time it was my daughter asking if I could babysit her five-year-old daughter. While she and her husband attended a concert. My phone buzzed again with a photo of a poster. I squinted and peered closely. A gasp escaped my lips. Those broad tattooed shoulders cradled a guitar. Long sporting hair. Not so chiseled face with a goatee. He went by the name ‘The Mad Monk’ now.

Swetha is an Indian author based in California and a recent MFA graduate at University of San Francisco. She has published works across genres in Atticus Review, Oranges Journal, Toasted Cheese, and others ( She is a reader for The Masters Review, and a staff writer for Fauxmoir lit mag. Her two stories have been nominated for Pushcart Prize 2022 She is an alumni of Tin House Winter Workshop and the Kenyon Review Writers’ workshop 2022. Find her on Twitter @whirlwindtots

A Storm Called Cupid by Samantha Terrell


From arrows

Pointed purposefully

At hearts, sometimes, get blocked.

The music

Of history gets in the way.

Its chaotic notes become temporarily jumbled.

A song in the air sounds off tune,

Stirring up a storm for the ages.

Yet the arrow flies,

Despite gathering clouds –

They, too, were

Meant for the sky.

Now, the storm and its aim

Both become stuck

In a bottle, set to sea,

Found by a lover, met by me.

Samantha Terrell is an internationally published poet with a background in Sociology. Her writing emphasizes self-awareness as a means to social awareness. Terrell’s collections have earned five-star reviews. She and her family reside in Upstate New York.

Christmas Isle by Kristin Garth

Christmas Isle

On Christmas Eve into a boat of pine

Two lovers climb their fourteenth time

They row towards their Christmas Isle

It hides behind their house a quarter mile

Inside a grove of balsam firs

A pile of oak awaits next to 

A cabin undisturbed with furnishings 

Save fireplace



Dutch oven stew

Long socks (ivory, red)

They only bring sweets

Armfuls of books

Mutual lust

Long-lost looks

(Of occupants of a decayed 

estate amidst repairs they calculate)


Invoices left on land

As many days as they can stand

For fruitcake


And merriness they make inside a bed.

Kristin Garth is a Pushcart, Rhysling nominated sonneteer and a Best of the Net 2020 finalist.  Most recently, she is the author of Lollygagger (2022) and You Don’t Want this (2022). Her sonnets have stalked journals like Glass, Yes, Five:2:One, Luna Luna and more. She is the author of 21 books of poetry including Crow Carriage (Sweet Tooth Story Books) and The Stakes (Really Serious Literature) and the editor of seven anthologies. She is the founder of Pink Plastic House a tiny journal and co-founder of Performance Anxiety, an online poetry reading series. Follow her on Twitter:  (@lolaandjolie) and her website

Little Bird by Wilder Rose

He calls me

Little Bird

As I softly moan

On his branches

Of morning wood

Wilder Rose is a vivid writer of sensual and romantic words. She has been writing for over 15 years. She published her first collection of poems, “In the West Wing” and a sequel is coming titled, “Evermore.”  Find her on Twitter  @wilder_rose or on the net



Yarn spun in

separate threads.

I loved you like a shark to fresh blood.

The wounds I opened were doors

to a hooded bridge.

I bit you like crusts of hard bread,

struggled with your Jenny spindles,

and sang several rounds to keep

my full neck active.

I had to go it all alone,

winding out the path.

When I had mangled every music,

the solitude spun me like a Mule.


I loved you. (You loved me.)  We were sharks to fresh blood.

(I was in black & white, slow motions.)  You were colored &

striped, many frames in those seconds.  We obliterated all

simple truths, through a slow combing, carding out dirt

and knot; and took to rugs, single but whole, intricate

designs.  Voices burned through our joining throats,

and our music kicked at every stretch and turn of our

Spinning Jack in carriage of one thousand bobbins. 

We had patterned every center.  The wool its own Loom.

WaxWorks by Edward Lee


Do you remember that tunnel

in the old waxworks

we crawled though,

stopping halfway through

to kiss, and touch,

our hearts hammering

with desire

and the possibility

of being discovered,

before continuing on,

faces red and bodies eager,

to look at the rest of the wax statues

that looked nothing like

whoever they were meant

to look like, strangers to us

and to themselves?

I remember, of course,

though there is little

I do not remember

of our time together,

our one year, six months

and thirteen days still existing

inside my heart

and nowhere else,

the memory of us

a stranger to you now.

Edward Lee’s poetry, short stories, non-fiction and photography have been published in magazines in Ireland, England and America, including The Stinging Fly, Skylight 47, Acumen and Smiths Knoll.  His play ‘Wall’ was part of Druid Theatre’s Druid Debuts 2020. His debut poetry collection “Playing Poohsticks On Ha’Penny Bridge” was published in 2010. He is currently working towards a second collection.

He also makes musical noise under the names Ayahuasca Collective, Lewis Milne, Orson Carroll, Blinded Architect, Lego Figures Fighting, and Pale Blond Boy.

Find him on Twitter:  @edwardleewriter

His blog/website can be found at

Two Poems by B F Jones

When We Finally Meet

We sit at the bar

And I say it’s nice to

Finally put a face on the name

And I laugh awkwardly

Because I am awkward

And you are beautiful

We drink too much

Too quickly

We talk too much

Too quickly

We kiss without

Drawing breath

You shut your mouth

With mine

So not to tell me

I’m not the one

You were hoping for.

The Best Scotch Egg In Town

I will take you to the place that has the best Scotch egg in town,

you say.

We squeeze past the crowds and get off the tube

We emerge on the street the cold air slaps our faces

And you ask if I’m cold and I say no.

We haven’t seen each other for months

But we can’t remember why.

We stop at Borough Market

And get served beers on a barrel

We walk down the South Bank

And you grab my hand

We sit on a bench and look at the river

And finally we kiss.

Till long after the last Scotch Egg has been served

Till way past closing time

Till the seed of heart ache is planted.

And we walk back to the station

And I run for that last train

And I look at your face shrinking into the night

And my teeth start chattering

And you’re no longer here.

B F Jones is French and lives in the UK. She has flash fiction and poetry in various UK and US online magazines.  Her two poetry chapbooks, Last Orders and The Only Sounds Left and her collection, Panic Attack, will all be published by Close To The Bone in late 2021 and 2022.  Find her on Twitter  @Fijo_Frenchie

I Indulge In Love

When I indulge in love

I want it to look like

the Aegean ocean

turquoise brilliance shimmering

while I ride the waves of emotion

When I indulge in love

I want it to sound like

a classical composition

of violins and harps

while we strum

our way back to heaven

When I indulge in love

I want it to feel like

a tender stroke on the cheek

or a thousand caresses

while we lay body to body

against silken sheets

When I indulge in love

I want it to smell like

a summer breeze

while I float

on a lake of patchouli

tangled up

in an orgy of fragrant flowers

When I indulge in love

I want to taste

its mouth-watering

sweetness ripe like a

freshly plucked Himalayan


When I indulge in love

I want it to





and taste

just like you

Lisa Mary Armstrong lives in Scotland with her children.  She tutors law and researches women and children’s experiences of the criminal justice system.  In what’s left of her spare time she likes to write poetry and fiction, drink tea and play the piano. 
Find her on Twitter @earlgrey79_lisa