Skip to main content

I am in my blue childhood, and Finding a Game Token in My Change Jar by James Croal Jackson

I am in my blue childhood 

bedroom, black Walkman 

spinning CD-Rs of Mega Man

music. I want to dance– 

anything but obsidian. 

Scraped knees learning 

to ride a bike– bloodstained 

handlebars leaving the woods. 

I can handle myself better

now, not always falling into 

potholes I noticed yesterday. 

Last week, driving home

from work in the city, 

my tires hissed 

as they failed to replicate 

their cells, then blew out

in the middle of the road

in the warehouse district. 

But I had music going–

OverClocked ReMixes

from Chrono Cross,

which got me thinking

about the Winds of Time,

parallel universes,

the inevitability of Lavos–

I had to call for help. 

I spent green youth

cooped in front of 

the basement television. 

Now, if I were to fetishize

anything it would be

no real consequences–

to the cyclical parallels

of the universe.


Finding a Game Token in My Change Jar 

I shuffle through memory for 

a single midnight. What did we do 

at school? Redeem gold tokens 

at Swings ‘N’ Things? Cleveland led


me to lake by leash. We listened to Feist 

among lilacs and buttercups. We lived 

near the airport, never flew. I shouldn’t 

keep money for unusable transactions. What 

a concept, after the drinking started. If darkness 

is inevitable, please invite me to your party.


James Croal Jackson (he/him) is a Filipino-American poet who works in film production. He has two chapbooks, Our Past Leaves (Kelsay Books, 2021) and The Frayed Edge of Memory (Writing Knights Press, 2017). He edits The Mantle Poetry from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (


Popular posts from this blog

Home by Jessa Forest

Home scratches at her shingles with tree branch fingers, pulls the air conditioning unit close to her grimy aluminum siding, and keens an empty song of mourning. We found her wandering the tornado snarled wild three months ago, starved and lonely. She doesn’t know how to take care of herself, you see? We fed her shards of dining room tables, kindling for the fireplace, and cast iron bathtubs clawed feet first. She was slow to recover so we gutted her plumbing, ripped out her nerves, and rewired the electricity. She let the water in every time it rained so we put a new roof on her and let her out for regular walks around the wolf pen. Let her mingle with the vultures, I said, let her feel useful and clean up the dead but no one wanted to listen. We found rot an mold in her corners, infused her insulation with antibiotics, and quarantined her for two weeks while she belched ladderback chairs, sofa cushions, wind chimes, and broken bookcases. She still has her bad days. After feeding time

Smoking and Swearing by Ian Manson

He’s stood outside, he’s on his break. He’s unsure whether to be smoking or swearing. He decides on both. Inhale. Fuuuck! Inhale. Fuuuck! A person, a visitor, or a patient. Heading to the hospital, sees his scrubs and scowls. “ It’s not very professional for a nurse to be smoking and swearing. ” But he doesn’t care. He’s already done his good deed for the morning and by midnight he’ll have done a dozen more. Yesterday was a paltry four. Tomorrow’s shift will be five or two or maybe eight, and another night of finishing late. Inhale. Fuuuck! He breathes a cloud of smoke. Watches it swirling, ascending, a spirit en-route to heaven. The person’s saintly sanctimony means nothing to him. Because he’s on his break. And he’s smoking, and he’s swearing. --- Originally from Scotland, Ian has lived and worked in Worcestershire for the last 11 years. He can normally be found performing his poetry and prose at events on the Worcester spoken word scene

The Pink Roll Top Bath is £995 and Says Sold. I Want to Know who has Bought it. by Wendy Allen

I grasp a piece of invisible text from Delta of Venus and bite so hard juice runs down to where I'm smooth inside. I am falling over the edge in anticipation of your mouth.  My lips curve like the rim of the roll top bath,  they smile, then say,  fuck me over the side. Open mouthed, soft inside, I swell, clitoral bulbs freeze framed in slow, they grow - lento.  I’m an Attenborough nature programme, my clitoris evolves from want.  Don’t stop - you make me summer. --- Wendy Allen has been published in Atrium, Re-Side, Brunel Writer and Northern Gravy. She has a Legitimate Snack coming out shorty from Broken Sleep and is about to start an MA in Creative Writing at Oxford Brookes.