Monday, September 29, 2014

John David Muth


A man walks past a public school
black bag on his shoulder
combat boots clopping
children laugh on the playground.

He enters the building next door:
a financial management firm
drops his bag on the floor
pulls out an AR-15.

Security guards vault
over the reception desk
run to the back exits.
Minimum wage is not worth the sacrifice.

The gunman goes
from office to office
opening red holes
in white dress shirts
and dark gray suits.
Avocado wraps and bottles
of sparkling water
fall from manicured hands.

Computer screens displaying
elaborate Ponzi schemes
explode like lightning.

Amid the clatter
of empty rifle magazines
hitting the floor
voices from dropped cell phones
confirm transfers
into illegal tax shelters.

An executive vice-president
hides in a bathroom stall
perches on the toilet
like a vulture on a glacier
promising he will never again
embezzle retirement funds
if God will let him live.

Gerald So reads "Another Shooting":

John confesses: "I sometimes find it hard to understand why insane gunmen go after children when there are far more worthy candidates in our society. Financial industry representatives often escape any real punishment for the lives they ruin. For fun, I threw a shark into a piranha tank."

JOHN DAVID MUTH was born and raised in central New Jersey. Currently he is an academic advisor working for Rutgers University. His poetry is usually sarcastic or satirical in nature. Occasionally, he inserts a little murder here and there.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

A-Z Challenge: C

To maintain the flow of submissions year-round, each week I'll challenge you to write about crimes beginning with a particular letter of the alphabet. We'll cycle through the alphabet twice a year. Notice we will come back to A in the second week of September, The Five-Two's anniversary.

This week's letter is C. That can refer to cash, code, crime, etc. The challenge is, of course, optional. The Five-Two is open to any interpretation of crime, poems about being wronged, anything that strikes you as "criminal".

Monday, September 22, 2014

Anne Graue


She knew she had done something
wrong; her knees reddened
by the knobby carpet that hid
the hard linoleum, cold and grey
that was probably white
once. She had written on her desk

with blue marker, and now
that desk scrubbed clean
was gone; no desk
until the second grade, so far away,
replaced by stares and glares
from teachers passing by, other kids,
the principal. Her teacher grinned

the toothy grin of Cruella De Vil,
acted nice in front of others
reminded them that transgression
was rewarded with pain—
humiliation of a pariah—
and one must learn even at six
that consequences exist
for every action and that someone
else is always in charge. She thought

her teacher might have a dungeon
at her house, or beneath the school;
she searched for the trap door
always looking down to avoid it—
the inevitable dropping into the dark—
that would most surely be reported
to her mother, who asked
about her day, every day,
and whether school was good
—she always replied that it was—
it was fine and if it would be okay
she would like to start wearing
long pants to school
instead of the dresses
she had picked out at the store
at the bright back-to-school counter
where all of the possibilities
of first grade had shone
right in front of her.

Anne reads "First Grade Criminal":

Anne confesses: "Incited by an article about a first-grade girl punished for writing on her desk, I wrote from this limited point of view; I wanted to explore the girl's thoughts as I imagined them. She had fallen prey to a megalomaniacal teacher and an oblivious parent."

Originally from Kansas, ANNE GRAUE lives, writes, and teaches online from her home in New York's Hudson Valley. Her poems have appeared in Compass Rose, Sixfold Journal, New Verse News, and The Five-Two. She will have poems in the summer issue of Ginosko Literary Journal. She is a reviewer for