Monday, January 15, 2018

Joe Nazare


The first time, he was looking for clues in a warehouse
And ended up studying the backs of his eyelids
When the night watchman sidled up and sapped him—
One quick, clipped blow, tender as a sledgehammer.

A mere love tap compared to the work of Angel Devine.
Girl had the kind of curves they post road signs about,
And proved just how dangerous she was when she
Unceremoniously knighted him with a fireplace poker.

A has-been pug and would-be enforcer for Slick Mickey Hart,
Trying to dissuade his investigations with haymakers.
Automatically, he’d cracked wise to the thug after each blow.
FYI: it works much better when the wrist isn't limp.

Same racket, but with badges: that boozehound Blaxton
Made a Monster of the Midway look like a puppy dog.
Had to be a graduate of the Inquisition rather than the academy,
The way he conducted interrogations with his brass-ringed knuckles.

Such scenes he can recall, so many others lost to the shadows.
Trouble is, his ship’s hull of a skull wasn’t enough.
Despite his determined efforts to embody the hard-boiled,
He apparently failed to prevent a belated scramble.

Would've raised his rates had he known the protracted cost of business,
The terrible theft that had gone undetected all these years.
Last month his doctor hit him with some ominous acronym,
A condition he couldn’t even begin to understand.

Privatized, he sits in his armchair, gun nested in blanketed lap.
Never ventures out: isn’t a street now that doesn’t seem mean to him.
These days, the only one he suspects is everyone,
And none moreso than himself.

Gerald So reads "Thought Crime":

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Joe confesses: "Diagnoses of CTE in former football players got me to thinking about another profession that traditionally involves repeated hits to the head. This poem is my speculation about what the latter days of a Chandleresque hard-boiled detective might be like."

A personal trainer by day, JOE NAZARE spends his nights working to get readers bent all out of shape. His fiction, poetry, and nonfiction has appeared in such places as Dark Discoveries, Pseudopod, Clowns: The Unlikely Coulrophobia Remix, Star*Line, Grievous Angel, Death in Common, and The Internet Review of Science Fiction. He is also the author of the collection Autumn Lauds: Poems for the Halloween Season. His blog, Dispatches from the Macabre Republic, is published at

Monday, January 8, 2018

Donora A. Rihn


Ask what an assault is,
I will tell you:
my body clanging hot
with virus,
glass by our bedside.
Thick paper,
paper you could cut a man with.
How I love him
in red light, white cells. Green.

Donora reads "January":

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Donora confesses: "This poem was inspired by having the flu during the holidays, which always feels like an assault itself, and the detritus that Christmas leaves behind. I am always hyperaware of my body and its surroundings, especially during that time of love and heat and color; here's to the new year."

DONORA A. RIHN is the author of The Marriage of Heaven and Hell: An Election Cycle (with Andrew Rihn; Moria Books/Locofo Chaps, 2017), a poetry chapbook that was sent to the White House to protest the first 100 days of the presidency of Donald Trump. She is also the author of Jeff Bridges (Cobalt Press, 2016), The Plagiarist (NEA, 2015), The Aphasia Poems (S▲L, 2014), and several other works of poetry and theory. Rihn’s work often appears in Hint Fiction (W.W. Norton & Company), Pedagogy, Women in Clothes (Penguin Random House), and other anthologies and journals, and she frequently performs her work across the United States. She lives in a tiny house in the Portage Lakes area with her husband and their two rescue dogs.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Andrew Kuhn


The sap, the suspect, clasped wrists
upturned in his lap, split lip burning salt,
slumps unmasted, unspooled in a pool
of spilled lies, gasping, gaffed, almost
grasping what’s lost but he still sees
the sloop’s sleek aft deck, the tray
of black plums, the pulse in the throat
of the spun-gold girl unclasping
her top and bending, supple, to
somebody else as the hull slips
past overhead, the sails fill and
he sees where he is at last and
how lost and his only spar is the one
you’ve tossed and he’d better grasp it

Andrew reads "Why I Love Being a Cop":

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Andrew confesses: "This poem started with words clustered for sonic affinities and spun itself into a sort of hardboiled sonnet. I have never been a cop (and would have made a poor one) but here try to imagine having close-up power over someone who deserves what’s coming."

ANDREW KUHN's poems have appeared in Common Ground, Able Muse, The Mailer Review, Pine Mountain Sand and Gravel, So It Goes, and other publications. His collection of interviews of twenty-one eminent poets, How a Poem Can Happen, was published in 2017.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Kufre Udeme


for Dan Brown

The Vatican has gone mad
A scar on the face of Christ
We look in the mirror but we can't see
"Purge me with hyssop and I shall be clean"
We pray as if we mean it
Every seven days we light candle en mass
Mumbling to saints and virgins
Singing psalms and gossiping the Devil
"Get behind me, Satan," every second
We cast and bind as if we mean it
He laughs out loud and forgives us
Twenty-four hours later he mocks us
When we return to hell as prodigal sons
Sacrificing purity on the altar of beauty
Painting purgatory as if it's reality
And then we vex heaven with unholy sex
Trading our crown for papal power
And then we war the poor among us
A scar on the face of Christ
"Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow"
We beg Him seven days later
When the spiritual wheels are in motion
Going up the sanctuary sanctimoniously
Lifting up the wine and wafer harmoniously
Caging our souls with beads and incense
Thinking we are sane when we are mad
From the Romans to the Jews
The Vatican has gone mad
A scar on the face of Christ

Gerald So reads "The Vatican Has Gone Mad":

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Kufre confesses nothing.

KUFRE UDEME is a tech entrepreneur and a culturally-bound Nigerian writer. Since 2007, he has written novels, short stories, poems and articles. He is a graduate of Philosophy majoring on Aesthetics and is currently working on his debut novel which is a historical story about African Witchcraft. Kufre blogs at

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Looking Ahead

The Five-Two is booked through mid-January 2018. Beyond that, submissions are needed to fill January and February and ensure the site debuts a new crime-themed poem each Monday without interruption. Please consider writing and submitting poems yourself and spread the word to anyone interested.

I would like nothing more than to find a virtual stack of submissions on Christmas morn, so call that a deadline if you wish. For February, I'd like to continue our tradition of love- or passion-themed crime poems, but I am open to any themes anytime.

Thank you for your ongoing interest and support.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Lucie Winborne


On July 19, 1933, Blanche Barrow, a short-term member of Bonnie and Clyde's gang, was wounded in a shootout in Platte City, Missouri, and permanently blinded in her left eye. Her husband, Buck, died five days later from his injuries.

I am Blanche's eye. Note-taker. Recorder
of 22 years. But I cannot speak

Once, through the widened tunnel of my pupil,
days flew like startled birds. Miles of mud-drenched road,
the flash of gun bores raised in haste. Cards shuffled
on a table. Abandoned papers, fluttering. Blue sea upon sand,
a white dog's wagging tail.

How pure, those shards of shattered window, sparking
prisms on their way to me.

Dead men sleep beneath my lid, lost to dreams and home.

I am Blanche's eye. Note-taker. Recorder
of 22 years.

But I cannot speak today.

Lucie reads "View, Interrupted":

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Lucie confesses: "When Travis Tritt released a song called 'Modern Day Bonnie and Clyde,' with a video featuring Billy Bob Thornton, a poem idea popped into my head. It was never completed, but sparked another idea—an entire collection devoted to the law-breaking pair. "View, Interrupted" became that planned collection's first offering."

LUCIE WINBORNE is a receptionist/administrative assistant by day and a freelance writer, copyeditor, and proofreader by night in sunny Central Florida. Her first poetry collection, The Soundness of Broken Pieces, was published by Middle Island Press in 2013 and she has been known to blog at Postcards From My Head. She welcomes visitors at her website,

Monday, December 11, 2017

Carlton Johnson


"The world is a dangerous place to live; not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it."
—Albert Einstein


The ground broke before you
entered the stage and took the part.
Darker black the ground that night
chased through Kew Gardens.
A cold, whitening grey shadows
the truth. All those listened
with stone ears and curious
blind eyes. Cries found no soul
to wash away the bitter cobbles,
bedded into lung and gullet,
like a dove.


The blade, pain’s laugh
drawn by shake and shadow
till the glint finding her,
entered in,
a thief of life,
the screams that fell
to dozens of turned backs,
return to sleep
or pray, perhaps,
at 3:15am.


Her blood red Fiat parked
at the LIRR parking lot, is still.
Before her life left, he charged $49
for his pleasure. Her dignity lost again.
The marvel, a single soft dull light
sconces the floors. Illumines the
failing flames grasping for air,
for one more.


4:15 am breath left body last
in the arms of a single neighbor.
A dozen or so, upstanding
thought a lover's quarrel
only after when disaster
deals death held hands
with apathy.

The air rose like vagrant spirits
through flues and chimneys as dried eyes
cry wish, did wish, that they had done more.

Gerald So reads "Broken Sky":

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Carlton confesses: "My inspiration came from hearing about the tragic story of Kitty Genovese, who famously was murdered in Kew Gardens New York, and the story that followed her death—that 39 people heard her cries for help and did nothing. I was intrigued by the bystander phenomenon. Additionally, I recently saw the movie Witness (after my first draft of the poem), which covers her surviving brother's attempts at getting some resolution. Her death lead to the creation of the 911 system we use today. It is a sad story, which has echoes and reverberations today around abuse and mistreatment of women in our society."

CARLTON JOHNSON is an educator and a tutor of math and science and the owner of Carl's Tutoring. A Winter Park, Florida resident for the past eleven years, he is originally from Baltimore Maryland. He has been published in recent anthologies of the Florida State Poets Association as well as in Breakfast Poetry, Provo Canyon Review, and and most recently, Haikuniverse. One of his poems ("Tour of Flanders") was included in the 2014 K9 for Warriors Veterans’ Day Program. He is a member for the past several years of the Florida State Poets Association.