May 20-26, 2024: Poetry from Matthew Johnson and Mickey J. Corrigan

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Matthew Johnson

Matthew Johnson is the author of, Shadow Folks and Soul Songs (Kelsay Books) and Far from New York State (NYQ Press). He has a forthcoming chapbook scheduled for a late 2024 release through Finishing Line Press. His poetry has appeared in Delta Poetry Review, Hudson Valley Writers Guild, London Magazine, Northern New England Review, and elsewhere. A recipient of Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominations, he is the managing editor of The Portrait of New England and the poetry editor of The Twin Bill. Website: www.matthewjohnsonpoetry.com

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Matthew Johnson and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

On Taking Out the Garbage at a College Apartment

We saw and heard them, 
Shaking their shells like a nocturnal rattle. 
 
They were well-fed, sitting in prime position
Of roommates who shoot their garbage into waste baskets,
But dislike the grunt work of following up on their misses,
And there is plenty’s worth of bad bounces over a semester.
 
So for all those tickled shins we smacked at,
Thinking some invisible hand brushed our heels and feet
In the middle of the night, this was the true culprit, these insects,
Circling the garbage can, and making it look like the floor was moving.

Mickey J. Corrigan

Originally from Boston, Mickey J. Corrigan hides out in the lush ruins of South Florida. She writes pulp fiction, literary crime, and psychological thrillers. She is the author of the book The Art of Bars: Twelve Steps in the War Against the Self. Her poetry has been called visceral, raw, and fearless. Referred to as “a female Bukowski,” Corrigan has published poems in literary journals, chapbooks, and collections. Visit Mickey on the web here.

The following work is Copyright © 2024, and owned by Mickey J. Corrigan and may not be distributed or reprinted in any form whatsoever without written permission from the author.

The Poet’s Widow on Her Husband, the Bar Bard
(Linda Lee Beighle Bukowski)

He said he didn’t know
how many bottles of beer
he consumed
while waiting for things
to get better.

Not a mainstream writer
never a sellout, always direct
too honest too offensive
he didn’t see himself
as an alcoholic
he could quit
at any time
for any reason—
but didn’t.

His work was powerful
little atomic bombs
that went off in your hands—
his life did too.
So much life
all over the place!

He had a direct style
touched with humor
an original voice
a famous weekly column
sex stories he invented
he had so little
after I came along
the mailman asked him
how he got all the young chicks
and he said the problem was
how to get rid of them.

I was one of them, then
I got rid of them.

I ran the Dew Drop Inn
health food restaurant
I followed guru rules:
no sex
on the road to enlightenment
and he liked that
tired of performing
he could just be
kick back, dream
of being famous
not to be confused with ambition
he preferred doing nothing
lounging in his boxers
drinking.

He’d spent most of his time
as a cheap twittering slave
in the bowels of the P.O.
or at the race track
or drinking diet Schlitz
in his shit-brown apartment
with coffee cans of grease
one 40-watt bulb
a hovel
full of empties
and trash.

His popularity in Germany,
France, all over Europe
popped when he punked
drunk and nasty, abusing
journalists and the media
and we laughed
and the people loved it
and the royalties poured in
and we bought a nice house
in San Pedro with roses
a wide green lawn
sweet guava trees
under his private room
a balcony he sat late
each night with a bottle
of good French wine
drinking
and writing.

Once when we split up
I stopped eating
and he got scared enough
to marry me, Hank
dressed in a cream suit
snake skin shoes, happier
than I’d ever seen him.

Hollywood came calling
for screenplays and his life
story, a documentary
filmed at our house
and Hank kicked me
took a swing
called me terrible names—
not a good look
but direct, honest
and funny, I thought.

At the peak of his fame
he crashed hard
withering, all bones
quit drinking
kept writing
kept me laughing
’til the very end.

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