My Online Jean by Peter Mladinic

Good fighters don’t like to talk about it
but Jean did, a teen in a home she broke
a girl’s jaw, in prison picking fights
with panderers who pimped children,
time in solitary. I was infatuated. 

Jean an ex-con my online flame
roller skated in her cellar, fired from
John Deere, high one morning on meth
she came in and set a table on fire.
When a woman slammed a car door

on Jean’s leg, I said why not kick her ass.
She didn’t. Some of the online luster
wore thin. Her fights happened when
young. After 40, pregnant Jean decided 
to abort, then to have the kid. I think 

Jean was afraid to fight the woman who 
injured her, my crush, my woman 
who loved women in jail, in prison.
She sent a picture: a beauty, long thick
wavy hair tried to shower with her. 

They did coke lines, made love, I think,
on a table. Jean said it was great.
I still have the other girl’s picture.
She looks like Kayla, a lawyer, paints
animals. Jean liked to roller skate.

Peter Mladinic’s fourth book of poems, Knives on a Table is available from Better Than Starbucks Publications. An animal rights advocate, he lives in Hobbs, New Mexico.

War Without Rules by Howie Good

There were days when the explosions didn’t subside. The sirens became more and more frequent, especially at night. We began to sleep badly. Then one morning, while hurrying to the market, I was struck by flying debris. At the hospital the doctor first looked around to make sure no one was listening who shouldn’t be. “I just need to grab a lab coat and one egg and I can fix this,” he said. He cut my feet open and put pennies in the incisions before sewing them back up and wrapping them in bandages. He explained that they were lucky pennies. 

Howie Good is a poet and collage artist on Cape Cod. His latest poetry books are Famous Long Ago (Laughing Ronin Press) and The Bad News First (Kung Fu Treachery Press).