Posted in January 2010, Poetry on January 19, 2010 by Black Coffee Press LIMITED

The monitor showed 3rd degree block–

a heart rhythm where the atria, the top part

of the heart, beats separately

from the ventricles, the bottom,

like random thoughts,

one thought connecting to another,

the next two or three

escaping the common thread.

The patient was 60 years old,

not a young 60

with kidney and liver disease,

a pacemaker buried inside her chest

like a sunken vessel at sea.  Its engine

refused to spark a beat of the ventricle.

We knew she was dying,

her blood pressure like air in a tire

leaking lower and lower, and lungs filling

with fluid.  When her heart slowed

to 40 beats a minute, her eyes grew wide.

We couldn’t believe her brain received

enough blood to feed her words

Is this the time to pray?”

We answered in unison, “Yes.”

Janice Krasselt Medin is an RN and also has an M.A. in English with Emphasis in Creative Writing from Ohio University.  Her publications include two books of poetry: Remembering the Truth (Temenos Publishing Company, 2006) and Communion of Voices (Big Table Publishing Company, April 2009), a chapbook.   Her poems have appeared in several journals such as Southern Hum, Alimentum (as menu poem), Gander Press Review, Word Riot, Up the Staircase, and many others.  Please note that the books and poems above have been published under the name Janice Krasselt Tatter.  She is now publishing under her new married name Medin.


of loneliness and videotape

Posted in December 2009, Poetry on December 30, 2009 by Black Coffee Press LIMITED

bare head,
bloated stomach,
I saw no rings on his hand

he came out of the
waiting room with a
folded over newspaper
in his hand,

I’ll be damned he said,
to me or no one, but

Marilyn died.

well that sucks, I said,
not sure which Marilyn
he meant but I was
thinking he was crazy
and talking about

damn right it does and
he showed me the spot
in the newspaper about
a former porn star, her
black and white face
followed by a few
small paragraphs.

you ever watch
Behind the Green Door?
he asked like I might
be some sort of
lonely brother.

heard of it, I said,
never saw it.

well, you should,
best porno ever
made, right up
there with
and I tell you,
I’m gonna go home
after this, light
a candle and watch
them both and

he went back to the
waiting room until
his car was fixed.

I handed him his
keys and watched
him drive away
in the vagueness
of his two-door
Chevrolet, imagined

his return to a close and
cluttered sitting room
with the shades pulled
south of the window sill,
watching his deceased
beloved on the small
screen, so very close
through the telescope
loneliness and videotape.

David LaBounty, his poems and stories have appeared in several print and online journals including the Apple Valley Review, Underground Voices, Word Riot, Night Train and the New Plains Review. His third novel, Affluenza, was published in the summer of 2009.

Mud Luscious

Posted in December 2009, Flash Fiction on December 28, 2009 by Black Coffee Press LIMITED

“It’s time, ladies,” Esther announced, tapping a spoon against her coffee cup. “Time for the exchange.”

The women seated at the three canasta tables grew quiet, smiling with anticipation as Dolores walked over and stood beside her cousin. Around her long neck gleamed the white diamond necklace, as stark and bright as an icicle. It was crusted with 239 diamonds and looked like something a princess would wear.

“Leah,” Esther nodded at the redhead at the corner table, “if you will join us, please.”

Shyly the slight woman got up, dusting some bread crumbs from her left sleeve, and joined the two cousins in the middle of the party room. She appeared quite nervous, as if called upon to deliver a speech she was unprepared to give.

“You look as if you’re going to cry,” Esther remarked to her frail cousin.
Dolores smiled palely. “I already am in my heart.”

Esther then removed the necklace and fastened it around Leah’s neck. “How does that feel?” she asked, smiling broadly.

“Like I’ve won something.”

“You have,” Ruth, always boisterous, bellowed from the front table. “You look like one of those people on that survivor show who are awarded an immunity necklace after they’ve won some crazy challenge.”

“Immunity from what?” Dolores asked, puzzled by the analogy.

“From ordinariness, woman.”

“Certainly anyone would have to feel special with a necklace like this around her neck,” Esther said, grazing one of the diamonds with her left thumb.

“Even the plainest of Janes.”

The $30,000 necklace was much too expensive for any of the dozen friends to afford so together they chipped in $2,500 to make the purchase. Esther was the one who first came up with the idea of buying something someone could be seen wearing on a red carpet. It was an extravagance, to be sure, but one she was able to convince the others to indulge in so they could experience what it felt like to be very glamorous, if only for a short while. The arrangement was that each woman got to keep the necklace for a month and could wear it wherever she pleased.

They chose their months out of a hat, and Leah picked June, which pleased her because she was a teacher and school would be out so she would have plenty of spare time then. Four women already had their month with the necklace, and all had interesting stories about the different places they wore the expensive piece of jewelry. By far, the most unusual place was a volcano in Hawaii, which Allison climbed with the necklace around her neck along with a Christopher medal. Jen, too, wore it in the clouds, seated in a glider piloted by her latest man friend who was old enough to be her uncle.

“So do you have any special place where you want to wear the necklace?” Hazel asked Leah shortly after Esther put it around her neck.

“I don’t.”

“You don’t?” she said, surprised. “But you’ve had four months to think about it.”

She nodded, in silence, unable to take her eyes off the diamonds.

“I won’t be getting to wear it for another two months but I know the first place I’m going to wear it.”

“Where’s that?” Dolores asked, overhearing her remark.

“To bed with my husband,” she said, smiling wickedly. “And that’s all I’ll be wearing too.”

Later that evening, after she got home from the exchange party, Leah sat at her dresser and stared for several minutes at what Esther always referred to as the “luscious” necklace now gleaming around her neck. Idly tracing a fingertip across a couple of the diamonds, she thought of it more as “mud luscious” because it was so heavy and thick. Like a coil of rope, she imagined. She knew she couldn’t afford such an exquisite item but agreed to chip in on its purchase because she was feeling so low at the time Esther approached her with the proposition. Only a few weeks earlier Vince, her husband of eight and a half years, informed her he had fallen in love with someone else and wanted a divorce. She was devastated, not having any idea he was seeing another woman, thought for a moment he was pulling her leg. But he was serious; assuring her he had come to his decision after considerable thought.

She was mistaken, she realized now, the necklace didn’t make her feel any better about herself. Not for a moment. Indeed, even after Vince left, she still felt as if his foot was planted squarely on her neck. She really couldn’t think of any place where she could wear the necklace, where she wanted to see anyone she wanted to impress with diamonds around her crushed neck.

Squeezing her eyes shut, squeezing them until they throbbed, she removed the necklace and placed it in the bottom drawer where she kept her handkerchiefs and scarves, suspecting it would remain there until the next exchange party.

T.R. Healy was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, and his stories have appeared in such publications as The Boston Literary Review, Callused Hands, Superstition Review, and Tulip.


Posted in December 2009, Poetry on December 27, 2009 by Black Coffee Press LIMITED

Though a hand in the hive

Will bring sweetness to the mouth,

Such momentary richness

Leaves a sting of raging poverty.

Imagine them,

Two souls walking down an uphill road,

Him with a stain on his shirt.

They were captured,

In a photograph.

It’s the truth, and it’s

All we have to go on

In this odd dialogue about the fruits of bad weather.

Nathan Knapp has been published in Lark(!), Third Wednesday, and The Midnight Diner, Infuze and Flashing in the Gutters.

“the sun is”

Posted in December 2009, Poetry on December 24, 2009 by Black Coffee Press LIMITED

the sun is
indecisive in this moment-
unsure if it is
to set.

I sit on the hood of
a car that is not mine
and finish what’s left of this
cigarette we started.

You board the bus behind me.

In this instant, I am at peace with everything.
It is here, I have found
what moves me-
discovered in the overwhelming intensity,
the simplistic purity,
the insurmountable depths
of our love.

these are the days I live for.

I wave hello to a
policeman on his bicycle,
step out my smoke,
and unlock the door.

Your bus pulls away.

Lauren Feller

Twin Girls

Posted in December 2009, Flash Fiction on December 23, 2009 by Black Coffee Press LIMITED

THE CHILD came out of nowhere. Beyond the small desert town the sun made waves, and she seemed to float out of the mirage. For weeks, months, he had been on duty, staring out,  but had reported nothing suspicious. Some big birds circling overhead, though most of the birds were gone now, very quiet, just the flag hanging straight down like a dead duck. His orders were to hold the position, stand guard on the cache of munitions: WMDs,  MREs, whatever;  not a plain soldier’s job to know. He was alone; they were stretched thin, fighting on so many fronts now. Iraq had gone bad, then Syria; that had triggered it. 

Not a bad job. Three days and nights straight, then his relief, a fat white marine called, he thought, Bubba. He preferred the nights, wired on the pills they issued him, everything dancing, sparkling green phantoms. His only hobby was collecting scorpions in a jar, but they were scarce now.

As the child approached he could see she was a small skinny girl with fair hair. Jeans, white T-shirt with a big heart on it. Holding up something now… a white teddy bear, as if a gift for him, a peace offering.  When she was close enough to see him clearly, she smiled, a nice friendly  smile, and he aimed carefully and shot it out of her hand.

But it did not blow. The girl dropped to her knees, frozen with fear. For a moment he panicked—Christ! Am I in trouble? But no, the briefings had made it clear: anyone who looks innocent is a potential threat. Shoot first, answer questions afterwards. Anyone, anything that looks friendly: dogs, cats, puppies—they could all be packing explosives. The Enemy is getting smarter day by day; we have to beat them at their own game.

… And here comes her Number Two, her twin sister! Running, arms flapping, same heart T-shirt. This must be the game plan: distract and move in. She had seen the other one go down. She stumbled but kept coming, so thin—where could she be hiding explosives? He thought of that old Life Magazine photo of the Vietnamese girl, on fire with Napalm, running towards the camera, naked. No bomb belt on her, but those were the old days. The second girl halted to crouch by the one on the ground, trembling, shaking her head. He’d only fired a single shot, and surely he’d made his point. The signs were clear. She tried to get her up but failed.

She stood and waved, frantic now—and here she comes! Oldest trick in the book. He can hear her screams now as she nears his station, “Help! Help! Do something!” and he does. “You fucking stop right fucking there!” he yells, but she keeps coming. He shoots her in the midriff. The explosion is red, colossal. Something bone-white flies towards him and nicks his face. “Fuck!” he yells, “Medic! Medic!”  He goes down, eyes full of sand.

Already he can hear the chopper landing.  It’s burying him in sand, but all his limbs feel OK. Thank God we’re back home in the U. S. of A, , he thinks, not still in that hell-hole of Iraq.

 Simon Leigh, Toronto Ca

Los Angeles Hipsters are Middle American Scum Pig Fuckers

Posted in December 2009, Poetry on December 22, 2009 by Black Coffee Press LIMITED

in a city where everyone wants something
to be something
a rock star,
hair stylist,
we are all such pigs
painted faces 
wobbling in feces
rubbing it across our bodies
and decorating ourselves
with shiny sparkly beautiful “things”

in a city where even the lights have regret
and the tall buildings are covered in bird shit
sidewalks covered in gum
and the gutters run purple with sangria
the bums sleep in the park
and pass the bottle
toothless laughs
and wide eyed grins
blind men with machine guns
not caring who they hit
its perfect

in a city where everyone loves 
& Thompson
$90 fedoras with $60 ray-bans
faded band shirts
and denim tights
oh so rail thin
with your eyes sulked in

in a city where either way
the girls will come around here
with your sniffled coke dusted nose
held high in the air
with your loss of words, along with appetite
any other way you’ll never be anything 
but meat
dense meat
Meat in line for the slaughter
and even the vegans cry out
“why are they looking at us like that?”

Alexander Rocha, Los Angeles.
working class immigrant parents.
cook by day, writer when i can
trying to get through this thing one day at a time

He loves me, he loves me not

Posted in December 2009, Poetry on December 21, 2009 by Black Coffee Press LIMITED

He loves me, he loves me not

That night
you left me
with flowers

Tulips, on my two lips
a taste so sweet
honeysuckle sweet

between our legs

for more

And as I gazed
into your eyes
with irises
so vibrant
and clear

I imagined
to match
our wild emotions

that night
you left me

whispered in my ear

Jill O’Dell is a sometime writer, poet and dreamer living in the Midwest.  She’s a wanabe hippie that hopes to someday travel across the U.S. in an old VW bus.


Posted in December 2009, Poetry on December 8, 2009 by Black Coffee Press LIMITED

The old man
forgot, last
night, to close
the blinds.

The sun remembered,
this morning,
to shine.

The window glass blares
white, the streaks of dirt now
highways of sun rays.
Chirps of birds outside
plague his mind.
They were soothing

The man gets up
out of bed
from the left side,
as he had before.
He puts on the coffee,
the good stuff.

He leaves the blue
Port Huron mug
out, and grabs his own
from the cupboard.
He sits. He reads
the newspaper.

He hears the chirps of birds
between the words,
black and white,
deep in his head.
His own fading voice
and the cackle of crows.

The kitchen table
glares sunlight.

C.J. Opperthauser is an Undergraduate at Central Michigan University. He finds inspiration in the rivers and the people. He likes blues music, fishing, and running. He is a simple man. His blog can be found at


Posted in December 2009, Poetry on December 7, 2009 by Black Coffee Press LIMITED

Four on a gloomy afternoon.
Noisy birds only contribute

further to the clutter
of her parents’ bedroom.

Loneliness. Solitude.
It’s difficult to explain

the difference
if you have no French.

We grasp at each other
like orange traffic cones,

emergency vehicles.
Afterward, I walk back

under the shrugging trees,
my heart startled worse

than a bashed-in headlight.

I should never have thrown
away the box it came in.

Howie Good, a journalism professor at the State University of New York at New Paltz, is the author of 12 poetry chapbooks, including most recently Visiting the Dead from Flutter Press. He has been nominated four times for a Pushcart Prize and five times for the Best of the Net anthology. His first full-length book of poetry, Lovesick, was released in 2009 by Press Americana. He is co-editor of the online literary journal Left Hand Waving.