Poems - Benjamin Blake

Let the Motel Room Neon Light be My Confessional

I sliced open these hardened veins
Leaving me cauterizing with alcohol yet again
It's the heart or the bottle
Or a combination of the two

I once fucked two girls on a football field
When night had fallen
And their boyfriends celebrated a birthday
Only yards away

You have no idea of the depravity
Of the secrets buried
Beneath a sly smile
And a horoscope
of hopelessness

The Real Roominghouses of Los Angeles 

Hanging out 
For the sweet smog-choked Southern California sun 
There are much worse ways to asphyxiate 
And I hold little fear of death, anyway 

To lie buried beneath 
A mountain of scattered screenplays and unpublished novels 
In a cheap hotel room
As the streetlamp flickers through the curtainless window 
And the roaches scuttle with purpose across the typewriter keys 
Drawing the death-rattle of the dying 
I will be sated enough 

Illegal Firearms

City lights, beneath a burning skyline
Bums and taxi-cabs crawl on by
Left in the bar, lipstick note scrawled on a napkin 
I should have washed my hands of her months ago
But for all my education, I never seem to fucking learn
Cross my heart and the choked street
The end is nigh

Chain-smoking Parliaments and making plans
Cable channel porn playing from the den
This time tomorrow night
Our rendezvous will be well under way
There’s always time for a lengthy dip in the local quarry

There’s Always Mexico

Trying to keep the aces in my hand
But these fingers won’t cease to shake
I’ve developed a penchant 
For trying my luck at Russian roulette
No matter how hard I try and pretend
I know it’s just a matter of time
Each and every day 
I make myself sick to the stomach
And do my best to hide in fiction
But this is more surreal
Than any pill-induced dream
And she’s just a fey as I am
So I’m putting down all I have
If all else fails
There’s always Mexico

Benjamin Blake was born in the July of 1985, and grew up in the small town of Eltham, New Zealand. He is the author of the novel, The Devil's Children, the poetry and prose collections, A Prayer for Late OctoberSouthpaw NightsReciting Shakespeare with the Dead, and Standing on the Threshold of Madness, as well as the forthcoming split, All the Feral Dogs of Los Angeles (with Cole Bauer). Find more of his work at www.benjaminblake.com

All The Feral Dogs of Los Angeles - Benjamin Blake & Cole Bauer

Cover concept which I put together with help from my tattooist, Tommy Bucket.

All The Feral Dogs of Los Angeles

From Benjamin Blake (Southpaw Nights) and Cole Bauer, comes the new split poetry collection All The Feral Dogs of Los Angeles. Poems full of life, death, dust, lust and liquor, All The Feral Dogs of Los Angeles reads like a drunken love-letter to the City of  Fallen Angels. 

Benjamin Blake 

Lights & Sirens

Roadside surgery
Performed in back rooms of low-lit bars       
I came so close to bleeding out
That I made my peace with God
Then renounced His very name
Some things are just not worth it

Patched up and back behind the wheel
A quart of brandy my old-time remedy
For the shivers and shakes
That set in with alarming regularity
These old bones won’t rattle forever

I closed my eyes as I drove through her town
I couldn’t bear to take it in

As Seldom Before

I wish I still had
The photograph I took
Of you sprawled back on your makeshift mattress
Inebriated and shirtless
The one that you made me get rid of
I've forgotten what it feels like
To share a bed
With someone the opposite sex
And same species

Cole Bauer

Shadows of palm trees 

Tv show and movies
They only show you the palm trees
With rooftops of homes
And skyscrapers up in the air
With the ocean in the furthest distance
Perfect paradise

The reality of this heaven
Is below in the shadows of beauty
The dirt, shit, piss, puke
Cops making arrests
Hookers and homeless and thieves
Pushers and drugs
Booze and sex
Murder and betrayal

Both views of this golden state
Have their qualities and character
It's just sad that so many
Don't know the truth
And can't appreciate it
Like us locals

Wilmington kittens

And high
Beyond belief

I stood in the kitchen
Smoking and falling asleep standing up
And then it happened

I heard the world's loudest
And most street
Cat fight
From outside that window

All long and drawn out
And then it ended
No winner declared

Hope none were hurt or killed
The sound of hood never sounded so sweet

To that
Badass pussy

Benjamin Blake

Benjamin Blake was born in the July of 1985, and grew up in the small town of Eltham, New Zealand. Blake spent time in Southern California several years back, and fell in love with Los Angeles whilst he bummed around, drank, and smoked too many packs of Camel Lights. After spending a night camping out on the side of the 101 with a fellow hobo, he went and stayed at LAX for five days, where he lived like a king before flying back to New Zealand. He has had poetry and prose published all over the world in various magazines and journals, and is also the author of the poetry/prose collections, A Prayer for Late OctoberSouthpaw NightsReciting Shakespeare with the Dead, and the novel, The Devil’s Children. He plans to make it back to L.A. as soon as he can. For the meantime, he will continue to share his bed with a schnauzerXpoodle named Danny.

Cole Bauer

Cole Bauer was born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, America in 1983. He moved to San Diego, California in 1990 and was raised there until becoming an adult. He has also spent a few years in Houston, Texas with travel all over the United States. He's worked many jobs and has known many people. Combine all that inspirational history with an urge to create and you have a library of screenplays, short stories, and also, right here, poetry. From self-publishing to contests to submitting to publishers and studios, Cole Bauer brings a wide range of material with him as he tries to keep the creative juices flowing towards an audience who can relate. That group of Bukowski and Fante readers that need to make it through, like he did with the greats. He currently lives in Los Angeles in the golden state with his wife, Mia, and dog, Rupert.

POEMS - Cole Bauer


So what, motherfucker?
I had a few drinks 
And some hookahs
With shisha and weed mixed

So what, motherfucker?
I made some jokes
A few comments
But it's shunned upon 
Something so innocent
Because the pussies say so 

So what, motherfucker?
I'm listening to music 
With a storm outside
Writing whatever I want
Until I can't anymore


The sound of
Multi-colored leaves
Crash landing 
On my patio
Should bring me
With it being fall
My favorite season

Like everything else
In this life
It is taken away
From me

I may be in it
But I can't enjoy it
The world won't let me
It wins
With its distractions
And everything else
Will be fine
Next summer


The shit can get so deep
That you slip and fall right in
Whether it's rain in the storm
And you're on foot going home
Or the stress of the struggle
Causing life to plummet 
But I have my slip-resistant shoes
On, tied extra tight
And enough anger to take on 
Harvey and whatever thing in this world
Is holding me back or trying to


I woke up today
After a sleep
Better than most lately

I hit the ground running
All day long
Into the night

There were applications
Phone calls
Bills, debts, issues, and shopping

And it was day light
After a good fucking occurred 
When I opened the blinds 

Once I drank a few sips
Of the booze
Hit a few puffs
Of the weed
And went to oblivion
Texas had become night 
So, I became a writer again


The cheap drinks
The expensive booze 
Liquor and beer and girlie ones
So much variety out there
But the feeling is always the same
That god damn escape

It sounds like a riddle
It is not
It is a fact
It is a reminder
Drink whatever
Because it's never for the flavor
It's for the feel
Or is that just me?

I'll never get that taste
Piss water with shit cubes
Pour me a glass
And get me there


It rained so hard today
That I was
Instantly drenched
The second I stepped
Out the door

It rained so hard today
That the parking lot
Ans sidewalks flooded
And the grass wasn't thirsty
Any longer

It rained so hard today
That I drove
From my apartment
To the mail box and back
I'm officially southern


I'll start you with anger
I'll start you with irritation
I'll start you with madness
I'll start you with chaos
I'll start you with outbursts
I'll start you with violence

I'll start you with every
Word, action, movement, and sign
That shows how mad I am at it
That shows how sick of this I am
The "it" and "this" equal life
The whole goddamn thing

Fuck this god-damn joke
Where the horrible punchline
Comes often
And all over my flaming pile of life

I start you because of this existence
I start you because of things that happen
Without those rancid things
I wouldn't have started at all
And without those horrible things
I'd be dead
Because my life is made up of nothing but
The shit of earth
So, I ask you a favor
I started you
Now end me


My phone has been playing
The same song for days
And nights

Through the drinks and weed
During the words
And beyond

For the wife and for noise
Maybe, the dog liked it
Who knows

Productivity and laziness
Good and bad
It blasts

It is now turned off
But my head remembers
And won't stop the concert

Before I go insane
You must know why
The cause of death


"How have you been?"
"Really good. Working, living."

Job application and resume
Filled out, turned in, dressed nice
Sometimes an interview
With no job
Most times I get nothing at all
Still in the unemployment line

"We've been going out for fun."
"That's good you're not struggling."

Money runs low
My own wife and I
We pawn what we can
Until the next paycheck
Where we then can't even
Afford to do something free

"How's the apartment hunt?"
"Good. Still looking for the right one."

Live in a shady motel
Take pictures of nice areas
Far from where I live
The truth
And post them
As if I'm a constant 
Fast-paced lifestyle
But really
We're getting rejected
From anywhere and everywhere
Bad credit
Bad rental history
Good liar

"I love you, too. Goodnight."
"Proud of you."


Human being
All over coffee
Eggs and toast

The dogs eat
They drink
They play
Indoors and out
Such a show

The southern neighborhoods
Full of beautiful nature
Decent weather
Peaceful solitude

A flawless time
I can destroy anything
With my thoughts
That soak
To the point of drowning
From the problems
And their stresses

Thank you, Stacey
I wish I could have been there

Cole Bauer was born in Minnesota, raised in California, and currently lives in Texas. He is a published and self-published poet that writes whatever comes to mind, whatever is going on, and his own raw and real truth. He lives with his wife and dog in Houston.

Poems - Mitchel Montagna


Labor Day 

A veil of sun
shimmered on the lake;
a grove of pines
blurred in its wake.
Skinny girls teased  
with burnt-cork eyes,
smoking Camels and
getting high. 
Glare lifted like fog;
the heat bloomed,
like a spreading fire
through the afternoon.
Bleary-eyed dads
came off their chairs;
they staggered down
to the sunburned square.
Crushed by drink, 
they stomped and cried
their dirty oaths
at the steaming sky.
The girls felt glee;
they felt their best.
They disrobed to show
their mothers’ breasts –
splendid and raw –
for the dazzled men,
that pitiless day
at summer’s end.

Middle Age Folly

Lurching hole-eyed and numb, he wondered if talking might
   help. Maybe he could regain their respect that

way; he could show wisdom as the product of his experience.
   He rehearsed during wretched nights:  “Did you ever 

look into a mirror and see something lower than dog shit?”
   He gripped sheets as fever wrung him, sweat blistering  

his skin.  “I don’t mean that as a metaphor. I mean, really 
   lower than dog shit.”  But he understood that it was

useless to try and get their attention, all those smug bastards.  
   He needed to feel bigger, but he knew he was smaller.  

It was worse than those days in high school, when they  
   kicked his skinny little ass.  This was no way to finish, it 

should happen near the start: the agony that you fight through,
   and laugh about years later.   

Mitchel Montagna is a corporate communications writer for a large professional services firm. He has also worked as a radio news reporter and a special education teacher. His poetry has appeared in The Penwood Review, Naturewriting, Poetry Life and Times, and PEEKS and valleys. His fiction has appeared in Amarillo Bay. He is married and lives in New Jersey.

A New Thing In Another World: Poems - Billy Malanga

Wildcats In The Cave

I heard bickering coming from the basement,

about not wanting to go to school, about

responsibility, test scores, endless self doubt,

and the oncoming storm of eighteen.

Then, my wife’s battle scream from

the Neolithic edge of the cave.

A shriek so wild and prehistoric, it came

from deep inside her ancient warm bloodedness.

Mother and kitten marking pieces of territorial

highland and mother not backing down.

It made the dog whine and me spill my coffee.

It reminded me of our basic instinctual leftovers

that have lingered for thousands of years.

If she was going down into the dirt, she was giving

her the whole deal, eye to eye, ears back, and

flea claws out.

My wife roared that morning for the ultimate good

of the kitten. She left her biogenetic scent through

her claws like two steel smoking revolvers.

Hell, there was plenty of food in the den

but, this was bigger than habitation. This was

hardwired wildcat development that has carried us

out of Mongolian caves and across the snow

packed mountains by the neck.

It leaped from her sharp teeth and into the face

of humanity, downstairs where spiders and pipes

move things around.

Mother wildcat got things right with her kitten.

Raised By Wolves

There is a wolf at the base of my brain. Pausing, sniffing nose up,

picking things out of the remote sweltering landscape of ancient red rock

like a machine. It howls in the exposed barbed ether of cool dark gaps,

well arranged, spike toothed. It holds me.

Lupine phantom fangs grip my neck like a mother carries her young.

It walks inside a bloodshot abyss, under red cliffs, where it hides and licks

blood from behind my eyes. Its awareness extends beyond fur dark gray.

Sunrise is always most brilliant when it finds its way through red crevices.

I dream of bright yellow and green rays of soft light chasing me,

all the way down into the fractured running stream, where depraved

juniper tears my flesh.

Both of my hands circle and dot the sandy floor, where white water

once ran wild. Mad rocks plunge nearby, falling when they have had enough.

They slink and lay motionless below in fortified heaps. Blistering inflamed

dust dances with coiled devils. They can’t see or hear me.

I feel a clamping pain on my neck. Polished sharp incisors and soft fur

neatly tucked beneath a starched white collar. One generation teaches

the next. Up ahead, my invisible scars rest in a shaded gully where a lonely red winged black bird sings to my red wilderness.


I drifted inside myself on a dark Alabama trail

while my Vibram soles munched dead leaves,

an overlay to my pulsating framework.

It felt good. Then, I thought a stick smacked

the side of my leg but it was something else.

Two hypodermic needles from the roof

of your mouth punched holes in my leg.

No rattles or warning shots,

just eyeballs snapped wide open and voltage

running through my veins like wild horses.

I never saw the hit coming.

You pulled both triggers at once and doubled

the recoil. Your choice to go in wet instead of

bone dry was costly. I noticed a Mississippi Kite

with black under wings circling above.

Your slithering forked tongue gathered particles

of reality. Your level of readiness inspired me,

it was like you were savoring my red fear.

You were coiled and I was vulnerable,

standing at the edge of a shallow grave.

I knew you would slither back into the wild

pine to reload, you had a habit of doing that.

Antivenin sat cold and still on forty-five miles

of indifference. Numbness and sweat filtered

my opinions about the world. This was no place

for bumper stickers. This was my aporia.