slow extinguishing flame


slow extinguishing flame


again and again and again and 

again left with this dying life, 

this slow extinguishing flame, 

this total and absolute longing 

for something you can’t define.                        

calendars, with their uselessness,

neatly thumbtacked to dirty walls, 

covered in holidays, lunar cycles, 

birthdays, and emptiness… mock 

your life with their lack of purpose. 

days and months blend together 

becoming a muddied grey. years 

pass with no sense of grounding. 

time is relative as long as you 

believe in life, but the future

is meaningless when you

have nothing to wake for.



Tohm Bakelas


Tohm Bakelas is a social worker in a psychiatric hospital. He was born in New Jersey, resides there, and will die there. His poems have been printed widely in journals, zines, and online publications all over the world, including 16 Pages, the Abyss, Aiurea Press, Alchemy & Elegy, Algia Zine, Alien Buddha Press, Amethyst Review, alt.ctrl.jpg, As It Ought To Be Magazine, A Thin Slice of Anxiety, Back of the Class Press, the Beatnik Cowboy, the Beautiful Space, Between Shadows Press, Beyond the Bleak Zine, Big Bend Literary Magazine, Big Hammer, Black Flowers Journal, Black Poppy Review, the Black Shamrock Magazine, Blo͞o Outlier Journal, Blue As An Orange, Bold Monkey Review, Borderless Journal, Budget Press, Cactifur, Cajun Mutt Press, Cephalo Press, Chasing Shadows Magazine, Cold Moon Journal, Cold River Press, Death Of Workers Whilst Building Skyscrapers, Dear Booze, Deuce Coupe, the Dope Fiend Daily, Down in the Dirt Magazine, Dumpster Fire Press, Duane’s Poe Tree, East London Press, Elephant, Empty Skull, Eunoia Review, Fevers of the Mind, Fixator Press, Fleas on the Dog, Flemington DIY Zine, For the Many Not the Few, Fragmented Voices, Freakly Digest, GAS, the Gasconade Review, Ghost City Press, Glove Zine, Goats Milk Magazine, Green Panda Press, the Grind Stone, Heroin Love Songs, Hickathrift Press, Hobo Camp Review, Holy&intoxicated Publications, Horror Sleaze Trash, Hudson Valley Writers Guild, The Ignation Literary Magazine, Impspired, Inefável, Ink Pantry, Jasper’s Folly Poetry Journal, Laughing Ronin Press, Lemon Peele Press, Lion & Lilac, Live Nude Poems, Lothlorien Poetry Journal, Loud Coffee Press, Lucifer’s Retreat, Lummox Press, M58, Mad Swirl, Medusa’s Kitchen, Medusa’s Laugh, Mercury Retrograde, Misfit Magazine, Monterey Poetry Review, Muleskinner Journal, Mythos Zine, Nauseated Drive, Need Zine, Nerve Cowboy, Newington Blue Review, Nixes Mate Review, North of Oxford, Northern Eclecta, Nota Bene Zine, Obscure Quarterly, the Odd Magazine, Oddball Magazine, Oddville Press, Open Skies, Otoliths, Outcast Press, Outlaw Poetry, Paper & Ink Zine, Paper Good Press, Parcham Magazine, the Pen Name Newspaper, Piker Press, the Pine Cone Review, Pocket Lint, Poetry As Promised Magazine, Prole, Pure Sleeze Press, the Purposeful Mayonnaise, Pyre Publishing, Ragged Lion Press, Rat’s Ass Review, the Raw Art Review, Razur Cuts, the Red Branch Review, River Dog Zine, Roadside Raven Review, Rust Belt Press, Rusty Truck, the Rye Whiskey Review, Salem Black, Salt Weekly, the Scop, the Scriblerus, Scum Gentry, Sequoyah Cherokee River Journal, Sheila-Na-Gig, Shot Glass Journal, Snitch Publishing, Soup Can Magazine, Spectrum, Stick Figure Poetry, the Stillwater Review, the Sunshine Review, Sweetycat Press, Synchronized Chaos, Terror House Magazine, the Tower Journal, Trailer Park Quarterly, Trampoline, Two Key Customs, Vlasinda Productions, Willard & Maple, Winamop, Winedrunk Sidewalk, Word Vomit Zine, the Zen Space.  He is the author of twenty-five chapbooks and several collections of poetry, including “Cleaning The Gutters of Hell” (Zeitgeist Press, 2023).  As editor of Between Shadows Press, he has curated multiple journals as well as published hundreds of chapbooks for writers all around the world. It is his belief that poetry should remain accessible and dangerous.  


  1. Holy shit this is incredible. I read with Tohm out in Louisville KY. He’s the real deal.

    - Kev

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