John The Baptist by Steve Sibra

Bring me the head of John the Baptist

or, failing that


How about a phone call from Idaho?

There’s always room for compromise

In a room with no windows

no door, and no air


It’s lights out

and the little feet start their dance

the sounds of the living deaden the air

you remember the air? – of which there is none here


It’s hard to make demands

without oxygen

and nothing to eat but your mother’s lipstick

– When all is lost, that’s the time

that we finally try to bargain


When all is lost

we never ask for much; if we can just get a crumb

we can pretend the rest

oh yes

we always pretend the rest.


So please, if you will

Bring me the head of John the Baptist

with a side of curly fries

and an ice cold bottle of Coke

Because “It’s the Real Thing”


And I always know the real thing when I see it

so let’s just get this over with.

Escape from VISA and MASTERCARD Island by Steve Sibra

Days when the fever broke

Ma remembered it like right now, right here:

“Sister Incontinence and her Bowel Movement Boys

skated down Room Temperature Boulevard

Kayaks made of orange peel piloted by the Walrus twins

Fab and Gear

and soon enough the silver lining of Cloud Nine

turned into just so much angel dust twisting in your kidneys.”

We poked and giggled with glee.

Here she goes, we thought.


“Artificial Bear Grease molested our Monster Magnets,” she rattled

“Serene daredevils filled cinder blocks with razor blade ice cream

made bowling pins out of elephant teeth

and it came to be known as  the  ‘Malicious Malnutrition

of the Magazine Article Five,’ a real page turner.”

Her eyes bright and nostrils flared.


“In the sequel they roasted the pigeons in skunkspray skillets

while Captains of Industry spoke of their lives with twits and twats

a halfway house for bird dogging artifacts

like Doctor Faintgoat Thunderkeg and Pint Size Pete.”

Ma now gasping for air, the vapors rolling over her

like a White Freightliner over roadkill –

we knew the climax was knocking at the door –


“Whisk us off to Daveno City,” she croaked. “Let us ‘live out our days’

with cardboard bankbooks and old railroad ties

dipped in egg whites and deep sizzled

(in direct violation of the Geneva Convention).”

We could almost hear the bones  breaking as her voice splintered


“Redemption is just a long cool walk down the Ivory Road

in the shadow of Used Paperback Mountain.”

We thought she must expire

but she paused  –  time was still –  and then she took a breath.


“Now  you young ‘uns  go conceal yourselves

before the new sun rises

and scorches again this old, cold Cursed Earth.”

Remorse of the Wrecking Ball by Steve Sibra

Let the wind dry your hair

plan for your day at the beach

night on the town

dawn in the arms of another cold fool.


You will never know the damage done

the wave that washes you clean

just carries the wreckage to another plateau


You have made all of my sins come true

And yet all I regret

is never getting to kiss you good-bye.


You are the engine of destruction that never looks back

the dead air gasps

in the space left behind scattered like straws

from some broken bird’s nest

breathe deep of the ash and flaming wind.

Jesus and Other Outlaws of Reason by Steve Sibra

Real Men love Jesus

Jesus loves the Beatles

cold beer at the nursing home

fish shaped turds fumbled carelessly

on the fifty yard line

pass-out pantomime of a doorknob pulling a tooth

pockets filled with Vicodin & antibiotics of many colors

and a casket that floats even

when the waters are rough and the sky bleeds mud.


Ghosts of the summer heat

Peel up off the black pavement

Eastern Montana country roads where the gophers

are pressed flat and still in love with the sky.

Everything is bigger when seen through a mirage

and of course the Lord has his fist full of silver

ready to pay all debts to the whores and lenders

And take out a hit on the Easter Bunny


Lose the fight but win the war

How many calories

are in a bite of Jesus anyway?

If the sinners get any fatter


The moon will wink and water

like the gouged out eye of a whiskey soaked saint

Praise the Lord and pass the red paint


STEVE SIBRA grew up in the 1960s on a farm in Eastern Montana, near a town of less than one thousand people.  His best friend from high school is now a United States Senator and one of his other childhood friends is a founding member of one of the biggest rock bands in the world.  Steve sells comic books in Seattle and writes poems and stories. His work has appeared in Shattered Wig Review, NRG, Hollow, Crab Fat Magazine, Jawline Review, Jersey Devil Press and others.

Lula’s Got Legs by Steve Sibra

“It’s the Bataan Death March inside my pants”

she said once, as I was busy

Pivoting on her axis.

My only reply:

“It all looks good, let’s keep in practice.”


“They call her spineless,” her ex-lover told me

“but take her out on the road and open her up –

Man, that girl’s got legs!

And the little dog just sits and begs!”


Wherever she walks the midget dog accompanies

most of the time he is what’s in between her knees

If all Hell breaks loose for an open field run

the dog disappears until everyone is done


“Roll me on my back it’s like Thanksgiving dinner”

she told me once as I wildly fired my rivets

“Construction work is hard,” I intimated

I was giving her treats while the dog just sat and waited.


“This relationship is over when I say so”

but she never called a halt

just the threat then more promise

I kept waiting for the word, like some Doubting Thomas


I finally had to call the pound, the dog became unruly

“You will never see me again”

she said, “which means I love you truly.”

So it all ended when least expected, dashed my hopes


Then resurrected the dreams of space and time

before crazy music played and made her mine

I slept a week, tossed, turned and sweat

Awoke to find the dog — now my pet.

Meanwhile Standing Water and Covered in a Cloak of Darkness by Steve Sibra

The minister’s daughters are naked

they sparkle

like ice cream cones sprinkled with fresh grass clippings


They gallop into the kitchen for flapjacks and hot buttered rum

San Francisco Style

Boggle the ricochet batter

flips, nips and knapsacks in the pan

lap the splatter from the walls

bare back prayer rack

“The words of Jesus are printed in red” they call out

Hillbilly savior sings into a can


then bare ass on the table with contents

sit wide with a hotcake on each thigh

cracked into the breeze

it’s a natural high, but wait

Boss Man has a couple of last licks

polish up the horse tack

ransack the peppermint sticks


Following pup protocol

scissors treatment for fools behind the wheel

at this time of night?  Get real

busy with the daughters as they start to pop

Honest report?  Or just jackstrop

with no jockstrap to ride a wing and a prayer

pull all the feathers off

watch it grow back as hair


Men with clothes start to perspire

that Holy Bush is red hot with fire

apples sliced and placed carefully on top

slather on the batter, cook it into shape

Finally after breakfast

there is lovemaking on the rockpile

above the snake den where the peasants

build ladders and strain cool water

through hot gunnysacks

frisk passersby who walk

under penalty of The Long Climb

if their women balk


The minister lets the naked daughters

thrust against the minibar

slide wet across beveled mirrors

run the streets like molten underarm hairs

They bathe in the sinks by night

standing water, covered by a cloak

of darkness


Two wisps of smoke come the blue daylight

Pizza Crust by Steve Sibra

This is the story of a pizza crust

told in the form of a recipe

or that’s what they want you to think.


The family history of this enclave

would make the happy clams slam shut.

My ancestors were like young children

who found an old fashioned bicycle

rusting in the thick grass;

they climbed on and could ride it instantly –

but were never able to get off.


Far off in the dead dog night some tortured creature howls

too piercing to be ignored –

in fact it ignites and excites me

and I dream myself back to the printed page.

“Three cups all-purpose flour” — a revelation

How many purposes can flour serve?

Will it truly answer all of one’s needs?

Or is it simply hanging around hoping to get a shot

at the active dry yeast

There is dew on the lily in the bread pan tonight


You have had your way with the olive oil —

it is surely all a downhill slide from there.

Stand too long in the oven’s hollow glow

and you will be baked into an unleavened statue

With no uses at all, beyond the obvious



A sad sack of frozen peas, now a tragic thaw

its brains turned to sickly green mush

it’s another lesson never learned

If you fall from the horse, get back on

and ride – just not in the same direction

or with the same dreams

Those thoughts which crawl like spiders out of the wet dough

smeared behind them, the trail of your pain.


And in the end, what is pizza anyway?

A few twists of broken crust

a made-up food

the Liar’s Meal

like the beating Heart of God

it is universally revered.

For every nation dines upon it

yet none will claim it as their own.