Five Fleas Merch

Evening of April 22, 2023

The Two Chairs

we sat in this morning

in our pajamas

in the sunny kitchen


are still in the same position

this evening when I get home

in the dark I sit in


then the other

~Paul Hostovsky


6 in the morning drunks 

hiccupping love letters to a departing moon 

as the sun blindingly rises 

with an exclamation point 

to end this tailspin of a run on sentence 

that spills its ink across the pages of 

the flea-bitten mangy hair 

of this dog day afternoon 

~Kevin Farrell

stacks of stolen kisses

consecutive serial numbers

retrieved by Navy divers

out at the quarry

~Rich Magahiz

Wing It

The rut I’m stuck in

is this shell

 masquerading as a temple

if this body is simply a vessel

then I’ve taken on water

am barely afloat

opting to sprout wings

rather than form gills

~Kevin Farrell

The Untied Stales

of America she has written 

over the map a little carelessly, 

transposing two letters, 

forgetting to cross one t, 

the map itself colored in 

a little sloppily, dark crayon 

spilling in from Canada

and bleeding into Mexico, 

and how perfect is that?

~Paul Hostovsky

Spanish Flea

My gym routine driven by scales,

piano, 5 finger exercise,

though damper on the sustained strings,

my mottled foot, jazz fleas, bite work.

The score, Tijuana Brass,

sound notes as jumping Spanish Flea,

though who cares nationality

when trumpet blasts blow fleas away.

We all had itchy feet that night,

in dingy basement with the roach.

~Stephen Kingsnorth


You were born into chaos before it became your shadow. You learned that your first heartbreak

didn’t unequivocally break you, it just prepared you for the future. You wondered why the stars

preferred not to be seen, then you understood them for retreating behind the shroud. You longed

as your dreams danced in the distance, only to taunt you in your sleep. You witnessed things

burn because there was no other way. You witnessed things burn because there should have been

another way. You felt your soul splash, sink, and swirl, like a tear that gets lost in a storm. And

still, the mountains patiently breathed.

~Zach Murphy

Lessons in Nostalgia

I’ve been up and coming since I’ve been down

the windows to my soul are boarded up

the door to the closet where my skeletons hang is always open

I know nothing of fine china and chandeliers

I’m from dull razor shaves and long roads back

with high friends in low places

where rock bottom is a foundation

not a means to an end

where we don’t adopt cynicism

we give birth to it

~Kevin Farrell

true true true    mechanized hosannas

~Rich Magahiz


There used to be

a live chicken in this poem.

There was a mountain

and a sailboat.

The Pacific Ocean

sloshing between stanzas.

And me like Adam

saying Here am I

to God who was also


~Paul Hostovsky

Afternoon of April 22, 2023

too gone

too soon

too gone too gone


the first snow

sticks to the dead




we toss our flowers


hands, feet,

children, eyes


~Patrick Cabello Hansel




Vast horizons trapped

by clouds light and dark.

Rational meets random

standing in the wind

gathering the pieces.

The solstice promises

it will not get any darker.

~C. T. Holte

A Wave Against the Shore

A wave crashes against the shore

And draws back to the sea of before,

But leaves behind a watered mark

And takes the sand into the dark.

A heart rises to face the world

And then sees all its life unfurled,

But leaves behind the good it sought

And takes with it the dark it fought.

~Gabriel Gonzalez

Bryant Park blossoms

fly with spring’s breeze upon heads

forest shampooing

~James Penha

Listen: Yes

an original form as a novel

a book of poetry

a collective of letters


to work Love

in a cousin's hotel.

~Daniel de Culla


your limbs

         become numbers

when once

         they were music

~Steve Horel

It’s not the eyes

        that lie, 

  It’s the little man

who reads 

their screens



Mr. E. Gary Gygax

slew forty iMacs.

in an atavistic ritual

from the days before nerds went digital.

~Noah Berlatsky

The key turns and I

Open the mailbox sadly

Knowing full well that

There will never be

Another letter from you

~Jennifer Gurney

Siamese Fighting Fish


It came as no surprise that the fish committed suicide.


Curious about the whiteness of the wall

bumping against the glass.


Ephemeral existence,

the terrifying silence of a bubble.


Sunbeams showed the way

to jump into a new life.


It came as no surprise that the fish committed suicide.


With the world so beautiful on the other side.

~Inga Piotrowska

Plastic colored grass

Found in the sofa cushions

Long past Eastertide

~Jennifer Gurney



I am going to open a picture-framing shop

with special frames–each a hair off square,

giving my customers opportunities to share

my gift, one that keeps on giving:

something to straighten . . .

again and again and again.

~C. T. Holte

Five-Line Red and Black POEM Kit

(assembly required)

Red red red black red red red black red red red black red black black black red.

Red black red black red black red black red black black black red red black red red.

Red red red black red black red black red red black black red black red black red.

Red black black black red black red black red black black black red black black black red.

Red black black black red red red black red red red black red black black black red.

~C. T. Holte

Morning of April 21, 2023

All day I dream

of naps.

~Noah Berlatsky

On waking

A beautiful dream.

So short. So short.

And you wonder why

I sleep so much.

~Joseph Farley

A trendy young poet from Gotham

had verses tattooed on his scrotum

        but later was sued

        when seen in the nude

by a lady who claimed that she wrote ’em.

~Alex Barr

gothic behavior

in the distance

a millennium child floats

~CJ The Tall Poet

Helen (Mrs Menelaus)

never meant to cause chaos

and wished instead of launching a thousand ships

she’d stayed home to write 'Helen’s Handy Household Tips'.

~Alex Barr

The algorithm

has chosen me for greatness.


for how long?

~Noah Berlatsky

Don’t Hide

Dance you crazy fool

to the beat of your desire

Don’t hide yourself from anyone

don’t let the intimidators tell you otherwise

~L. Sydney Abel

I exist.

Ain't it a shame.

At least now you now

Have someone to blame.

~Joseph Farley


a book shop customer pays me

with three joints

~John J. Dunphy

Dress pants, bald heads in

office building parking lots.

A song of key fobs.

~Terry Trowbridge

scrabble —

ma fails to

arrange peace

~Debarati Sen

Of course

There is no such thing as love, but she still gives you the best piece of stale bread.

Of course, you had a cyst for you never emptied the bottle. Of course, you are scared that time

will be over - one minute. Of course, the sky will turn white and fall like the petals of cherry

blossoms. Of course, the child won't see any birds for night has come early.

~Sunayna Pal

Breath Has Spirit


The wind blew

I breathed

Breath has spirit

Not all kindly

~L. Sydney Abel

My poems have been

Swimming in the shallow end,

Afraid of the depths,

Floating on facile rhymes, as

They slowly dog paddle home.

~Janet Stotts