Poetry from J.J. Campbell

Author J.J. Campbell

Author J.J. Campbell

J.J. Campbell (1976 – ?) is stuck in the suburbs, wondering where the lonely housewives are hiding. He’s been widely published over the years, most recently at Horror Sleaze Trash, The Rye Whiskey Review, Misfit Magazine, Live Nude Poems and Yellow Mama. You can find him most days perched upon his soapbox on his mildly entertaining blog, evil delights. (https://evildelights.blogspot.com)
back together again
i have had
my heart
broken so
many times
that i can no
longer put the
pieces back
i’m not happy
that destiny has
determined alone
is the only way
i can go through
the rest of this
but it is
what it is
i’ll have the
last laugh
every good
asshole does
the second day
i had a woman cuss
me out this morning
because i wouldn’t
give her money
mind you, this was
the second day i have
ever talked to her in
my life
she said i was an
ugly fucking asshole
some people just
know i guess
the calm before the proverbial storm
it’s that easy,
peaceful feeling
right before
disaster hits
the calm
before the
it’s why only
the lucky get
to live by the
the rest of us
get blindsided
by reality
left to scramble
for whatever is
the hopeless
become helpless
while the rich
laugh all the
way to their
golden banks
in the cloud
anger and despair with every chord
i remember the old
blues men i used to
admire in my late
the smoke in the air
anger and despair
with every chord
sipping on a glass
of bourbon or
whatever my older
face could get me
i would always get
lost in the saxophone
transported to a
woman i need, the
sweat racing down
my back and how
forever could wait
for just one more
a sign of being defeated
this frown is
i believe it
was when
i finally
realized what
happened in
the bathroom
when i was
a child
it’s a sign
of sorrow
a sign of
being defeated
a sign of
to whatever
unlucky soul
happens to
be looking
i’m too old
for this fucking
song and dance
i don’t think
of myself as
a victim
but the world
hasn’t exactly
supported that

Mahbub reviews Raj Naiksatam’s The Cloudburst

A review of Raj Naiksatam’s novel The Cloudburst

By Mahbub

The Cloudburst by Rajesh Naiksatam is a novel that lives up to its title gradually, developing with an excellent form, style and line of thought. It reveals the past and present exploitation and persecution of India’s common people by both Indian nationals and foreigners. But nature is the best healer when all things within and outside us cleanse us, giving us a hope for starting anew. The author was born and brought up in Mumbai, India. So, his knowledge of the country runs through this story, taking place all over India and the Indian subcontinent. The characters are international, from all corners of the world.

Editor’s note: here’s a summary of Mahbub’s view of Rajesh Naiksatam’s The Cloudburst! 

E.M. Forster’s A Passage to India illustrated colonial attitudes towards Indian culture in 1924: the people’s behavior and attitudes, how the rulers treated the commoners. Now, nearly one hundred years later, Rajesh Naiksatam’s The Cloudburst pulls off a similar feat with a different type of setting, a fresh style and characters, and lucid and colloquial language. 

Mahbub, a Bangladeshi author and English teacher

Continue reading Mahbub’s summary/review here. Continue reading

Poetry from Daniel DeCulla



The Spitting Poet

Walking through the Espolón promenade, in Burgos

From up to down

From the Provincial Council

And Main Theater

Until the Arch of Saint Mary

And back to start from the Arch of Saint Mary

Until the Main Theater

And Provincial Council

The Great poet united verses

Spiting below each line

So that people would be well followed.

Each of the wings of his bronchitis

Felt on the trunk of a banana trees

Or on some of the tiles of the walk

Well, the Poet spat so much on his side

How to the front

Wrinkling the nose.

The scene was seen that he enjoyed happiness

And it was his cause

As passersby laughed

Or people boasting against him.

Tanning of sputums

Giving the verse in gale or pledge

To this man or that female

That they lowered its value

Or diminished its importance

Or estimate, exclaiming:

-It’s a sp Poet’ sputum.

-It is a spit in Verses

Degenerating from its true origin.

-He is a bronchial Poet.

He makes verses with the sputums

Poet of Poets

He coughed and spit like a king

That ensures his reign

Soaking with the tongue

The spit on his palate

To keep them

For inmemorial time.

All in all, the Poet

Obstinate, determined not to give

To demands of the people

What they demanded:

-Poeta, stop spitting

And recite a poem to us as it is due.

When passing through the music temple

He lifted his neck and spat at them

Falling sputums on the head of a bald man

That he was sitting

On a bench of the walk

Close to the temple

Looking like a sea fennel

In his head

Leaping the Lord of Poets on his legs

Gesturing he with hands in the air

And exclaiming:

-You’ll be a fucking Poet!

It is believed that he is throwing leashes to the hawks

Or plasters to the skull.

The Poet, without making a sack

kept walking

And, at the same time, reciting

Embellishing the Espolón promenade

Giving to it a poetic character

With the charm of his verses

And his sputums.

Poetry from Mahbub

The Death of The Dog

Mahbub, a Bangladeshi author and English teacher

It was just at the evening

Finishing my morning prayer at the mosque

I kept my feet on the highway

A sound stroke my head and heart

As it was knocked down by a vehicle

Moaning and groaning so poor in condition

Sickly sound the last for ever

Stop my breath taking for a while

Just like a baby before going to sleep

Keeping its front hands to its mother’s head whimpered

The last pathos lost for all

Brimming to the air

Revolved my mind and mentality

We all are going to pass the silence of the night.





We are born ambitious

Like to rise high, fly in the sky

Flow on the water, to the highest pick of the mountain

The lives lay flat on the ground

Innumerable skulls deep in the whole

Gnarled in the open air

We die every time in our sleep

Every night we roar and moan in nightmare

We struggle for something

We die for something for the next welfare

Achieved or not

But die for achieving till the point of the result

The ship is bound to the harbor

But found always in midst of the ocean

Sinking and rising

Making the belly a football

Crawling a long way seem to be too tired

Not to be able to enter into the hall

The sun rays too hot

The tigers devour the body

Bloods seeping from above

How can I escape?






Many children have been lost in the manhole

Many lost in the dark

Many fought but defeated in the struggle

Many spend the nights by the highways in the dirt and dust

What they eat we never think for

They don’t have the courage to the white spark

Man is born free but not for other’s future

We struggle only for power and dignity

We never keep our hand to the helpless world

We demand not so heavy only for the right to be loved

To take away from the condition of starvation

To plan for rehabilitation and sanitation

We eat we bleed angry and hungry

How can we flee from this dying and suffocating world?

Will it ever be possible to inhale the fresh air?

Is there any unseen hand that might emancipate us?




Come On, O Raindrops


The sky is ready with clouds

Pours the drops of rain

The thirsty land quenches its throat

From many years the leaves dried or dying

Likely to get drenched by the water

Thrives from the core of heart

Turn back me

Spread your hand over

Just like the water from the sky

Fill up the gaps green and fresh

So peaceful to the sight

Burning my body turning to death

O dear, come on.



Play Ground


In every step of age we are playing

Even in the sleep we play

As long as our heart beats

We play struggling to throw the ball in the goal post

We clap our hands glitter the eyes

We dance sigh a relief wind

I am to you are to me

We walk hand in hand in the ground

We look forward behind

Take care to win for the next time

The spectators on the gallery

Crying laughing

Defeated winner

In every step of life we are playing.


Chapainawabganj, Bangladesh



Poetry from Ryan Quinn Flanagan

Waiting Cheese Platter Under Wraps


I am sitting alone

in Conference Room D.


Beside the rattling tin of instant coffee

and waiting cheese platter

under wraps.


The wire microphones

in front of each swivel chair

like twisted forgotten

balloon animals.


Corporate art walls

and freshly vacuumed floors.


Then my wife comes in.


What are you doing?

I thought you were waiting for me

outside the bathrooms.

What if someone comes in right now?


I tell her to sit down.

That anyone who walks in

will assume I am in charge

and that I will run the



You don’t even know what the conference

is about!


But I know what it should be about.


Let’s get out of here,

she says.


I reluctantly give up my seat

at the head of the table.

Leaving Conference Room D

to fend for itself.


On the placard outside

it reads: Millwrights Union

Local 1916.


You don’t even know what a millwright is!

she scoffs.


Sure I do,

I say.

It’s a group of people that mill about

with the right posture.


That would have been one hell of an interesting conference,

she laughs.


I tell her we can always go back.

She can sit in and keep the minutes.

The chairs turn around just like in The Exorcist.


She drags me by the arm

while I snatch her purse

and let her know that I’m beginning

my life of crime.

A Complete Stranger


You got the stuff?

he asked.


And since I didn’t have the stuff

he turned away quickly

and walked off.


Looking back once

with a confused look

before he rounded the corner

and was gone.





The plug is fishing for attention

over by the outlet along the far wall.

It is harpooning whaling vessels

back into bloody waters.

Double-pronged and prom night

obvious with its intentions.

Four days until another

failed apocalypse comes to pass.

These doomsdayers keep

getting second chances.

I stopped believing what people

said somewhere around 1989.

That was a big year for me.

Hair on my balls

and my first time on an airplane.

I have given the plug what it wants.

Some undeserved attention.

Not a place in the wall with the spiders,

but the next best thing.





Lay off the big scream,

don’t let them hear you.


Make them lean into something else

like knocking over a stack of

old newspapers.


Tiptoe around the cauldron

Mr. Stir-stick.


Cover your mouth

cover your bets.


Your word is not enough.

They want all the words you

can think of.



A Princess Lion with Leopard Spots


Kitten has gone for her haircut.

To remove all the mats.

She is the manor work cat.


My wife calls to tell me that kitten

felt self-conscious at first,

but that everyone kept picking her up

and telling her how beautiful she looks

and that now she is strutting around everyone.


Little Miss Thang!

my wife says.

I thought she had stripes like a tiger,

but now that she’s shaved down

you can see she has spots more like

a leopard.


A princess lion with leopard spots,

I say.



she yells excitedly.

Did I tell you that she tried

to leave work with me

the other night?


I tell her she did not.


Good thing I looked down.

Little Miss Thang was walking out

the door proud as she pleased with the hook tail

cats get when they’re happy.


She says she’s been told by her boss

that she can’t bring the work cat home.


She told Kitten she had to stay,

but that my wife would be back soon.


So she was running a hustle on you,

I say.

Trying to make you think she always

came home with you.


Oh yes, she acted like it was natural

and I was weird for questioning it.

It was so cute!


I tell her that if she had her way

we’d have all the cats in the world.


My wife laughs

and says she still wants that shirt

that says all the cats love

her best.


Even this cat,

I joke.



she says.


But don’t tell Kitten,

I say.

Those felines get

really jealous.


She promises not to tell

and we hang up.


Then I watch a documentary

on turn of the century madhouses

in England.



Ganglia Wires


If I could

see into the future

I would cut my eyes out

and give them

to you.


Snip the ganglia wires

and everything.



they are your



Pass them along

the family line if you want.


I promise

I didn’t put a curse

on them.


That is just

bad luck.



2 Degree Sky Differential


I come downstairs

and she shows me what she

has been working on

all afternoon.


See what I did there?

she asks.


You made the colour picture

black and white,

I say.


Not that,

she says.

I fixed the sky.


You fixed the sky?


The sky was crooked,

she says

going back and forth

between the two pictures.




Not really,

I say.


She turns the computer screen

back towards herself.


How can you not see that?


You’re the artistic one,

I say,

did you really think I would

march downstairs

and say I see you fixed the sky,

there was a 2 degree sky differential,

but you fixed it.

I like what you did there,

does that sound

like me?


She take a large swig of her wine.

It is a white Chardonnay.


I saw what you did there,

I say.

Does that count?



The back door is open.

You can hear the frogs singing.

Before the real heat arrives

so there is no fan.


And we are drinking rum.

Something from a bottle made to look

as though some second rate pirate stole it

and buried it in our fridge for



I come back from the bathroom

and it is Summertime.


Not the real summer in full,

but Sydney Bechet

on clarinet.


The wife was always good with the reeds.

Has a natural aptitude for music.

The frogs still singing in the dark.


A napkin over my mouth

to wipe away the


Essay from Chimezie Ihekuna (Mr. Ben)

Deception 6

He (or she) has a sexually not-good past but will change, though, still in the habit of flirting

Chimezie Ihekuna

Do you know that when you form a habit, the habit will eventually form you evil communication corrupt good manners?   Indeed, it takes sheer determination and special grace to give up this life-long addition to cigarette smoking promiscuity of unpleasant consequence. Audrey, a dashing middle-aged young man, had been smoking since the age of 15.     Now married with children, he is yet to say “no” to cigarette smoking.     If not for the principled nature of his wife, Lilian, probably his three sons would have taken into his lifestyle of cigarette addiction.   The same analogy is applicable to sexual promiscuity.

He has a sexually not-good past but will change, though is still in the habit of flirting

At this point, if you have a spouse who is busy ‘playing around’ with other ladies, then I suggest you ask him the question, “Sexually are you worth being faithful to?’’ His sincere response will tell whether or not you should go ahead with the relationship. What makes you think he will change, considering the fact he is been busy “sharing” you with other women? Would you be surprised if I told you that he apparently sees your sexuality as no better than the ladies he had rammed, despite his seeming praises of you? Probably, he is financially or materially assisting you, does it mean you cannot prevent the imminent blindfold – his flirting habit? Given this identified recognition, what gives you the impression you are mentally and physically prevented from the clutches of insecurity and doubt, diseases, lack of focus and judgment? Automatically, if not now, in a not-too-distant future, like he had done to other women, and if not changed by then, you will be realistically be seen as a sex object and just as the disposable (medical) syringe, he will treat you like or leave you for other women. If you really want to get on with the relationship, then the need to strongly change him by painstakingly imposing on him with humility practicable truths of managing one’s sexuality by yourself or the services of a trained counselor is undoubtedly very essential.

She has a sexually not-good past but will change, though is still in the habit of flirting

The dream of most responsible men is to be in serious relationship with or marry chaste girls. Imagine a situation where your spouse is gallivanting with other men. Would you ordinarily be in a relationship with such a person? What do you expect from her- fidelity, a good home, a secured marriage or something? Judging by her promiscuous lifestyle, there is no significant difference between her and just by-the-roadside sex hawkers. Do you want to marry such a lady? Even if she is intelligent, beautiful and possess what you think are essential requirements of a lady, can’t you exercise the worth of self-control on her and teach her the essence of upholding womanhood—fidelity? If you think you can’t leave the “love of your life’, then I advise you strongly yield to this advice. On her part, it takes self—determination and a special grace to turn a new leaf from this chronic habit.            This can only be met provided she can practically exercise the lesson of self-determination and special grace. It must be established the warning: ‘’this will be a herculean task to complete.’’






Poetry from Damion Hamilton



I was at Starbucks

and they came for me

they hadn’t been for me in a while

but they came for me

I was just sitting in my car looking

at my phone, harming no one

heard a tap at my window, businesslike,

police, I figure it would be something


“step out of the car.”

“someone said you followed them from home.”


“they said that you look at porn on your cell phone?”

“what? I would never look at porn at Starbucks.”

“it sounds like he doesn’t believe what he is saying.

he seems suspicious to me and i am suspicious to him

the flashing lights come in, and they light up the night

three more police cars. I feel like El Chapo.

I don’t have a criminal record.

at 41 i thought i was past this.

being treated like a criminal.

but i feel like 25 again, not having my shit together.

It seems like they are being friendly with me

but they hate me, “sit on the curb!”

they would say that they are just doing their jobs

always doing their jobs

I take everything out of my pockets like i am told,

but that is not good enough.

he has too take everything out of my pockets

and sits on the car trunk.

this shit is so embarrassing.

I feel people looking at me, I don’t look up.

I try to smile, it is difficult though.

they are dissecting me,

they have been watching me for months.

I have been minding my business, and been

so quiet, just working on my laptop, reading books,

and listening to podcasts.

the boys need to remind me I am a fuck up, and black,

not whatever i think I am

they tear the car apart looking for

for heroin

looking for heroin

the do their best to find that

but they don’t find it

I don’t have it, and never had it

I used to hang out in bars.

and this is one of the reasons I stopped

I figured i would be safe at Starbucks

not fucking with anyone.

I thought the employees were my friends,

some of them, but they are with the police too.

these people act like they don’t know me,

act like we have never talked or joked with one

another. I feel betrayed betrayed betrayed

this is Kafkaesque

who set me up? and why?

betrayed betrayed betrayed


Insult Me

and he bought me drinks and played video games at bar, we

were bar buddies, not too many people liked him. And we were

both outsiders at the bar. I remember him saying, “you know my job

is hiring Damion, we could always use another janitor.” As if that would

be the only thing i would be qualified to be. I thought it was funny and

interesting if he intended it to be an insult. And deep down it was. Something

was going on in his life to insult me. And even though he worked for Boeing and

made a shit load of money he was not happy. UN happier than the shipping clerk

he wanted to insult, interestingly enough



The Clerk is An Angel

I got to the grocery store and was impatient,

line building behind me, Sunday night and cart full of groceries,

no bagger, he went home, meaning the cashier would have to bag the groceries

too, which will slow up the line.

the line didn’t have any movement, as still as the sky

this made me uncomfortable as it made others uncomfortable,

but people started chatting with each other, and I just picked up

a can of beans in my grocery cart and read the ingredients

I felt as uncomfortable as a traffic jam, almost unbearable to me

and the clerk’s voice was so calm, with no hint of frustration, or anger, or impatience,

and I haven’t seen anything like that in a while, as he asked, “how I was feeling?”

I kinda snapped when i said, “just wish you had a bagger.”

with impatience and anger i was trying to temper, yet couldn’t quite do this.

I put the card in the machine, it holds and releases,

he gives me a receipt of the stuff I had bought,

his face is still so calm, I admire that

“have a good night I say.”

realizing my foolishness





I took a benadryl

and was knocked out for hours

in sleep

this sleep, dreamless at times

when I woke up, I thought it was

eight in the morning,

it was one in the afternoon,

this Memorial day holiday


I did nothing except sleep mostly

no plans

no trips

no yoga

no exercise

or TV

it felt good to me,

not to notice what time it is

except it was my time for a while

and the world dissolved for me

into blue smoke

for awhile