Better Than Starbucks
Poetry and Fiction Journal
. . . if you love diversity and creative writing in any and every form, then you’re in the right place . . .
Vol VII No I
February, May, August,
If time is a
whose track you
cannot trip, if
turns out to be the
Sam Levy lives in Austin, Texas. She received a Master of Liberal Arts degree from St. Edward’s University. Her work has appeared in Gemini Magazine and Fiction on the Web. A forthcoming publication will appear in The Bond Street Review.
The blooms above spring fire
purple and gold, and fly.
I am wet dirt.
Soft roots stretch twisting cries.
A woman, flamed and sewn,
hair a plumage of slaves,
crawls over me.
Gloom sways her dirty lace.
Scarred hands gather me up,
force me against her mouth.
Wind sweeps the hills,
up where the heart’s ease bow.
John Riley has published poetry and fiction in Smokelong Quarterly, Better Than Starbucks, Connotation Press, Fiction Daily, The Molotov Cocktail, Dead Mule, The St. Anne’s Review, and many others. He has also written over thirty books of nonfiction for young readers.
An abbreviated prayer
While we still have time:
May you one day rise into the air
And crack the glass of the sky
Like the black walls of an aquarium
A writer and performance artist, Nate Maxson is the author of several collections of poetry, including Maps To The Vanishing which is coming out in 2022 from Finishing Line Press. He lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Piddling on a daisy-fresh coffin s
s wobbly bladders.
Michael Hamburger stalked out the latrine.
Christopher Barnes has won a Northern Arts writers award. Each year he reads for Proudwords lesbian and gay writing festival and partakes in workshops. His collection Lovebites was published by Chanticleer Press.
Lobster Telephone by Salvador Dali
Geometric Forms by Jean Arp
Last night, at its apogee, between a melting yesterday and tomorrow’s promise,
I found your image hiding among the shadows of my mind.
Like a released spring, my heart leapt,
And joy flowed as a river
Through a canyon
Through the canyon
Adrift in the flowing river
Clutching each other as we are swept
Below the canyon walls into shadows of the mind
Where today, I awake to yesterday’s tomorrow and tomorrow’s promise.
S Denny resides in San Angelo, Texas, and is a graduate of the University of Texas where he received a BA in Liberal Arts. His poems have appeared in Voices de la Luna, and his haiku in Better Than Starbucks.
In Terminal E
Pushed in a wheelchair
he whizzes down the concourse,
still black-haired, straight-backed,
his face webbed with seams; holding
a bonsai tree on his lap.
Hope Coulter, author of The Wheel of Light, directs the Hendrix-Murphy Foundation Programs in Literature and Language at Hendrix College. She lives in Little Rock, Arkansas.
the switchblade thrown
across the room
meant to clear it
RP Verlaine has lived in New York City all his life. His haiku, senryū and tanka are published in world- renowned journals including Under the Bashō, Akitsu Quarterly, Chrysanthemum, Prune Juice, Failed Haiku, and many more.
One Night in Boulder
Oh Seth, do you remember the night I wandered back into your room after drinking the DMT that spun my mind inside-out and neon pink elk-men danced my senses so intensely I could no longer stand to lie in the dark and see their throbbing antlers, their piercing glares that came from my own insides, so transparent I was? You on your inflatable mattress smoking as I lay on your floor, geometric panoplies berating my entire brain, panicked and saying, I’m dead this is serious I’m dead and you’re here with me are you dead too? And you just lay there looking out your window onto the Colorado night air, droning, You’re not dead man you’re not dead. Like you were telling me there was no cheese left—but with less alarm.
Jacob Riyeff is a Benedictine oblate, teacher, translator, and poet. His books include his editions and translations of Benedictine works from the early medieval through the modern periods, as well as his own poetry collection Sunk in Your Shipwreck.
girls like me
girls like me break their lenses with fists and puncture the papers in palpitating palms with a plethora of grief-stricken tragedy — a per diem ritual to sketch silhouettes around the slaughtered trees standing across the polluted city with their leaves fallen as a garland on its bent neck, as if autumn snatched their home away ‘twice.’
girls like me dine chilly soups with forks and chopsticks in driving urgency of labor pain and wait for their torso to get bloated with supercoiled DNA found on the spits and fingerprints of hair stuck in the podium of a ceramic soup bowl, a remembrance of their perfidy.
girls like me count their nightmares slithering on their toes, slowly and slyly, as their irises shiver with their eradicating eyeballs balling in sweet yarns of fictional stories, for the skeleton to misplace each joint as she tries to wake up with swollen scary eyes, a new art she learned to decorate her fence, with luxurious wall hangings — as heirlooms.
girls like me swallow sparkling Bombay Gin with their jaws open and cotton plugs studded as blue sapphires in each nostril and, type drunk keywords in palindrome, in security codes of their exotic asylum hoping their mothers will kiss them goodnight, in return for a washing machine filled with her dirty laundry.
girls like me collect feeble hibiscus in their tiny flower pots and sit cross-legged on chairs to carry the dead weight of black caterpillars glued between the braces of their crooked teeth, for their wild hair to grow maroon saplings.
girls like me spill yellow beeswax swimming swiftly from soft pungent cheeks and secretly store them in potion bottles, to paint their nails with, on such days when thundering night suns collapse on their thundering harp strangled between brown wooden films.