Amanda McLeod

Spare Parts for The Human Spirit

Spare parts for the human spirit
are not easy to come by.
                        
Life would be simplified
if we could only remove
the broken pieces of ourselves
and replace them with
newer, shinier versions
coated in titanium or sapphire
so they don’t wear out.

Instead, we pry off our
covers and peer into the depths
shaking our heads at the dust
and fragments that crunch
between our fingers, wondering
what value there is in this
mess.

But as we pull the pieces out
one by one, they start to make
sense, and we begin to rebuild 
what they once were.
                        
                                    It looks different.

Some pieces are gone forever,
ground away and carried
off by the wind. Others
Are worn at the edges and
don’t quite fit. 
As it all comes back together
even as a distorted version of what was
it starts to mean something.
And we begin to love the cracks
                        the missing pieces
As much as we loved the pristine original
and maybe even more.


Amanda McLeod is an Australian author and artist with a penchant for good books and coffee. Her words can be read or are forthcoming in many places including The Cabinet Of HeedPussy Magic, andRhythm & Bones; and she is an assistant editor at Animal Heart Press. She loves the water and the quiet. Find her on Twitter @AmandaMWrites.

Jeremy Freedman

White Light, White Heat

I didn’t quit smoking to watch you catch fire now, 
so surprise when an asteroid comes zigzagging 
down, coming for you and your little dog too,
bird-dogging Earth’s last-chance saloon, ululating,
Look at melook at melook at me!, in ragged tenor, 
like an aging rock star trying to bring
the sexy back, its craggy twisting face 
reflecting light, looking forward to the tristesse
of human contact, emphasis me, when I was younger,
outside the old A & P in Ardsley village, 
every counterpoint crow in each italic tree 
is the same fornicating apparatus 
of abstract truth and unstable memory’s 
hunger, trysting with the endless electricity 
that sparks and blooms like a tropical flower 
with her velvet finger up the ass of Morpheus. 
 
I imagine there’s a hidden laboratory secreted 
in Con Ed’s substation on Avenue C where 
a quorum of cats go to pray for a little yes 
and a great big no and a secret Santa distributes 
his goodies and the snow of yesteryear disappears 
up the nose of the chimney and turns to ash
that blows away in the overheated winter
sky over Manhattan’s mighty river fortress. 
 
We all once wore the angel wings
and other garments of New York grace,
pace Auden, pace Ginsberg, pace Lou Reed
and Charlie Parker, about suffering 
they were never wrong; they dared sing 
about it at medicated leisure and looked 
upon the sun’s twisting face. We and they
were all at once seized by similar hope, 
that suffering would be vanity’s pleasure. 
I hope there’s a place their feathers go 
when they turn to fire, I hope they don’t forget 
to recycle the ashes of a father’s memory 
when the asteroid comes staggering down 
with the crystal crack of brittle dawn 
and shatters the night like a blissful
drunk landing a sloppy kiss.


Jeremy Freedman is a writer and artist living in New York City. His poems have been published in 2 Bridges ReviewPioneertown, Queen Mob’sCleaverOtoliths, and elsewhere. His chapbook Apophenia (2017) is available from Finishing Line Press. His photographs have been exhibited in Europe and the United States and have been featured in numerous journals. More work can be seen at jfreenyc.com and on Instagram @jfreenyc.

Jonathan Endurance

THE PROBLEM OF GRIEF

inside my mother's mouth
is a ticking bomb when prayer point
becomes a bargain between her and God
 
i do not know what to name my grief
i call it the tip of a knife straying 
to the root of my stomach
 
everything my hand touches turns black 
my problem isn't how well i persevere 
since kindergarten people call me little angel
yet the sky is so dark and there is no heaven 
made for my wings to soar
 
my name tastes like acid 
i wonder if God still pronounces me
without burning 
 
my mother prays i soar like little bubbles 
only if she knew bubbles are thin
world easily knifed by the wind 

in the mirror, i hold my body with a gaze
my reflection is a flickering candle flame 
ready to quench 
 
inside my throat is a December sky
everything is so frozen
my voice shatters like brittle shards
 
these undertows pride on
taking dominion over the oceans
they do not know inside my mouth
are earthquakes i chew before bedtime 
 
i walk my body to the shore
i am shocked at the size of my footprints 
it is enough to say grief has claimed 
a larger part of my flesh
 
i imagine my body a firefly 
crushed by the fist of night
my name is anything sounding like 
glasses against glasses, 
metals against metals 


Jonathan is a young black poet who writes to heal his emotional wounds. He lives somewhere in Benin City, Nigeria. He has his work on or forthcoming in various magazines and journals — Eunoia ReviewCanvas Literary JournalKalahari Review, DeLugeIndolent BooksElectronic PamphletBrittle PaperAfrican WriterRising Phoenix ReviewColdnoon MagazineTuck Magazine and host of others. He can be reached on (Twitter @joepoet_) (Instagram @joepoet_) and (Facebook @Jonathan Endurance).

Kolawole Samuel Adebayo

In the Cadaver Room, a Young Doctor Is Morphed Into a Heart of Stone

At first,
a boy is a stranger to death.
he walks into the room of cadavers
& a storm rises in the sea within his body.
He pukes out some water from the rising sea.
In the cadaver room, a young doctor is introduced to death.
He picks up his surgical knives with premonitions
Because the room feels sacred.  A pile of bodies lay there. You can tell
Which body died a gruesome death. The young doctor draws a cross on his forehead,
Says the Lord’s prayer, then touches his living skin to the dead skin.
In the cadaver room is fellowship of the living and the dead.
 
Every week [or almost every week],
The young doctor walks into the room of death,
Draws the cross on his forehead with his index finger,
says his Lord’s prayer, fellowships with the dead & leaves.
Till one day, he is Lord in the room of death, needs no sign of the cross,
Needs no Lord’s prayer to touch the dead or slap the dead or cut
The heart of the dead out of his body. Till he laughs in the room of death,
Maybe takes a bottle of rum in the room of death, talks about Trump & Obama,
argues about Cristiano & Messi as he carves a still body open.
 
 
He is like a god now,
Not moved to fear for dead bodies,
In the Olympus of cadavers, he sits as Zeus
Dictating which body goes to knife or not.
From the young doctor I learn the way
To make my heart a stone that can’t be moved—
I keep on with it till nothing in the world can shake me.


Kolawole Samuel Adebayo is an old soul in a young Nigerian body whose poems seek to awaken the human consciousness. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming on Glass PoetryButton PoetryBurning House PressAnti-Heroin Chic Magazine,Tuck MagazineBlack Pride MagazineWRR, BPPC anthology, and elsewhere. He likes to connect with his friends via his Twitter handle, @samofthevoice.

Serena Solin

Terra Firma

I dream again of a new world
when the weather tempts, when it’s tense
and wet like this. Goodwill for the biker, the squirrel
on the wire, those funneling home and work-ward,
the grackles and their beloved satellite dish. A narcotic sheen
lifts. Water caught under the bedrock bubbles, shimmies, 
and recedes, and the streets begin to open up. 
 
            * 
 
The potential city is as friendly a place as the first night
in a college dormitory. My neighbor Alex—later Alexander— 
introduces himself and quickly we fall in.
I learn that he hails from a small town in Michigan
where his high school offered daycare for teenage parents.
He loves and admires his older brother, an architect.
By chance his room is the smallest in our suite—two adults
do not fit in it—whereas I have the desirable corner.
I have been lucky in my life. Our conversation continues
in the common room, in the elevator, on the low stone
curb of the quad. We notice police officers scrumming
around our building, but because it is our first night 
we do not immediately realize that something is wrong.
There are whispers of a jumper. Not from our residence
but from the one diagonally across the quad, which faces
to an ordinary city street; impenetrable brownstone walls;
no sunlight in daytime but a powerful wind in winter;
a zephyr beating its cage bars. Because it is August
we do not know this street to be wild yet, but we will.
It ends at the shabby hospital and the magnificent
unfinished cathedral. 
 
The next week they install stoppers on all our windows. 
I blow smoke through the small gap I am allowed.


Serena Solin is a writer from New Jersey. Her poetry has appeared in Fence, tammyThe Atlas ReviewFoundry, and is forthcoming in The Portland Review's upcoming folio on ecological disaster. 

Sara Matson

<backstage>

bowlegged nymph crazies 
a flurry of
(darkness is murder)
the actual nascency of Other
thoughts trip                i love sprinkling pencils
                                    like a beautiful reptilian pagan
(all those candlewax eyes!)
she       that spectator sip
but afternoon desperation says warmth
ensanguine (to resemble trembling)
((or at least a subordinating shrink))
seven thousand harpsichords roamed the hills
miserable for loss 
she bled trees (a velvet wrong)
dressed in veils like a blameless creature, 
she       the ivory aunt twinkling 
(unwooed) an 
uninvited guest
cast the black sequined
handkerchief doomed to
blot gummy waste
juicy w/
vitality


Sara Matson’s poems can be found in The Journal Petra, DATABLEED, Theta Wave, Dying Dahlia Review, Vagabond City Poetry, Déraciné Magazine, Mannequin Haus, Soft Cartel, Dream Pop Press, and elsewhere. Her pamphlet, Forgotten: Women in Science is available from Damaged Goods Press. Sara lives in Chicago with her rad husband + cats, and Tweets as @skeletorwrites.

Paul Robert Mullen

college nights and days

  standing on the edge of 
the barricade                rain falling on his shoes
 
3am                 petrol station lights     
laughter in the alleys  
the mathematician fucking the rich kid
up against Mary Blaine 
beloved wife and mother / b.1863 – d.1937
doormen gathering                  sirens
 
she was half in love on the avenue
leaning            boy with man’s hands / chrome wheels
relax, don’t do it                     the late-bar
dying with the hour
late november fog curling round the carparks
and warehouses like clenched fists
 
streets waking up                    garlic mayo under finger nails
            hypnotic jangle of fruit machines
medium or large?
no taxis / no jackets / blowing air into blueing hands
what you lookin at lad?
temples            breath              guts                 anus                 
all in bits
 
fall asleep                    cock in hand
headphones in
 
            her face                       with him
alarm               alarm               alarm               MOTHER       alarm               MOTHER
 
you were late                          
 
undulating country roads                    hedges scraping / whipping windows
            bloody traffic lights                            every single one
no texts                       the emptiness of it all
            stripping his insides
 
sausage barm              no sauce
            everyone fucked
 
she appears                 from somewhere deep inside of him
this town is cancerous           she whispers
            rolled-up cigarette / expresso
purple-yellowed eye               half way between exhaustion and submission
did he do it?                            i don’t ask
(he’s somewhere in the canteen)
 
a thick black knitted jersey hanging               fleshless shoulders
flakes of skin              like flies trapped in bulky yarn
scatty hair / barb-wire knots / gnawed nails
 
            beautiful
 
pool balls click                        the notice says no tobacco
in the common room                           she rolls another
            stooges on the jukebox
            the cure on the jukebox
 
did you see the graffiti?                      she forces smiles
legs crossed / twitchy 
by him?                       i do say it                    I do say it
 
drilling in the walls                 two middle-aged overalls grin
they’ve picked the ones they’d love to screw
 
yeah 
               she mouths                  by him


Paul Robert Mullen is a poet, musician and sociable loner from Liverpool, U.K. He has three published poetry collections: curse this blue raincoat (2017), testimony (2018), and 35 (2018).  He also enjoys paperbacks with broken spines, and all things minimalist.

Twitter: @mushyprm35

Wanda Deglane

to-do list

●     wake up.

●     take your pills with the half-empty mountain dew in your fridge. the fizz has gone. you can’t taste it anyway.

●     think of the first thing you’ll do as a ghost while you mess up your eyeshadow. 

●     tell yourself to move faster. the clocks have grown tired of waiting for you. everyone you pass can see your mess. everyone you know is perpetually disappointed in you.

●     don’t think of your family.

●     don’t think of your family.

●     remind yourself to eat something today.

●     paintI’m okay onto your tongue, practice saying it every time you breathe. it takes shape, hollow and neon blue in the air. eyebrows knit together. I’m not okay, you try again. but I’m trying.

●     cry in another public bathroom stall. play sudoku on your phone because it distracts your brain from the ache. call a friend and cut yourself off on the first ring. hide for the next hour, until the sobs stop coming. you’re glad for the mirrors, for your sunglasses. for the hand soap that smells vaguely of roses and dreaming.

●     tell yourself to get something to eat.

●     don’t think of your family.

●     don’t think of the people you left behind, the little girl you deserted in the house of leather belts. the dogs gasping for air in the middle of the night.

●     dance circles around face-fallen explanations. I’m not lazy, not selfish. I just can’t move. dance circles until they sound more like excuses.

●     tell yourselfask yourself nicely to eat.

●     tear up every time a stranger looks you in the eye. whisper apologies to no one.

●     fall asleep, twitching and fighting through decade-long dreams. sleep until you can’t recognize the time of year.

●     call a friend and sit face to face with their voicemail inbox. your tongue has given up. the sun has given up. 

●     don’t think of your family.

●     don’t imagine your brother dying. a hundred times, in a hundred different ways. the same song at the same funeral. don’t imagine your brother’s body. his pale hands forever making fists like he fought god on his way out.

●     eat please just fucking eat.

●     think of what you’ll do as a ghost. like replace the flowers in your mother’s vase every time they droop. like write poems on bathroom walls for the next crying girl. like fly into the sun and lace stars into your veins.

●     build a home out of your own grief. there’s horse-sized fish swimming in the walls, holes in the roof. the ground is littered with broken, colored glass.

●     sleep only when the light peeks in through half-covered eyelids.

●     wake up.

●     wake up.

●     please.


Wanda Deglane (she/her) is a night-blooming desert flower from Arizona. She is the daughter of Peruvian immigrants and attends Arizona State University. Her poetry has been published or forthcoming from Rust + Moth, Glass Poetry, Drunk Monkeys, and Yes Poetry, among other lovely places. Wanda is the author of Rainlily (2018), Lady Saturn (Rhythm & Bones, 2019), Venus in Bloom (Porkbelly Press, 2019), and Bittersweet (Vegetarian Alcoholic Press, 2019).

Sara Barnard

The photographer’s girlfriend speaks

Something about his eyes reminds me
of butcher shops. I am more than the 
other girls, he says; fist full of facts, mind
wider, hair longer, the right amount of sad.
 
And yet he looks and chooses all the time.
Will this be enough? As he tightens other
flesh, captures bones, I will wonder what
was said in the moments after and before. 
 
Behind the stripes hides nothing but my fear;
his obsession, which, as a flash streaks dark, 
with one saccade will disappear. Wrapped car-
cass of a sacred beast, I leave behind no mark.


Sara Barnard (she/her) is from the UK, has lived in Spain and Canada, and is now based on a sailboat in Central America, with her partner and child. Since finishing a PhD in Hispanic Studies, she has focused on sailing, parenting, and freelance writing (travel, music, culture). Her poems have been published by Bone & Ink PressGlass Poetry Resists,Hypertrophic LiteraryThe Cerurove, and Okay Donkey, among others.

Twitter: @sara_barnard

Website: www.sarabarnard.wordpress.com

Weldon Ryckman

SUBJECT

J got up from the record player and danced. R held onto their cup. S looked out the window. F mused. J cried for a new song. R held onto their cup. S saw a strange figure. F grimaced. J’s song brought the house down. R drank. S saw a strange figure. F held in something deep and never told anyone. J woke up from a dream. R called their mother. S kept looking. F held in something deep and never told anyone. J woke up from a dream. R played a video game. S is gone. F sleeps. J never really knew anything about the government. R played a video game. S watches Indian in the Cupboard. F eats Cheetos. J’s parents are ultra conservative. The strange figure returns. Where is S? F all over the place. J can’t help themself. R is violated. S’s friendships shatter like a lollipop. F all over the place. J dances without any clothing. R calls attention to their names. S is still missing. F asks where S is. J can’t help themself. R calls attention to their clothing. S misses F. F asks how this happened. J disappears with F. R calls S to see if the phone will ring. S has no idea. F asks how this happened. J reappears with F. R rings and rings. S is back. F has no idea how this happened. J came back to the past tense. R believed it’s all a dream. S was gone for a long time and has bruises. F asked how.


Weldon Ryckman is an MFA candidate at Northern Arizona University, editor-in-chief of Thin Air Magazine, and a contributing editor for Carbon Copy. You can read more of his work in Whiskey Island Magazine, and find him on Instagram @schweldy and on Twitter @weldon_ryckman.

Rikki Angelides

Mini Meditation

most of my thinking is arguments / in the shower I said horsehair is dangerously sweet 
those chestnut spiders just nibble through life / until clippers conquer that shaggy mane 
it’s bittersweet, isn’t it? / a future paintbrush / a bowed instrument   
probably down in Florida a nurse's daughter with a horse named Maple and a love for acrylic  
went to www.KnowYourPaintBrush.com and immediately voted against art enrichment programs 
in local government for the rest of her life / I tried to rationalize / tried to blame the horse girls 
tried to convince my girlfriend as she rinsed the shampoo —
vegans would eat genetically modified chickens with a removed consciousness —  
simply crown those chicks immobile and they are essentially plant based  
she said that’s fucked up / a stupendous way to jerk around compassion  
 
I know / I’m vacant-minded / ballooning with shit ideas / I don’t even eat meat 
my angel garland / I hate to cook it / but it’s these bogus arguments that keep getting me in trouble 
and lately I’ve been thinking about interactive death / a way for us to still play / still dance 
place ashes in a zen garden / rake around sadness 
but this hasn’t gone over well with the select few I’ve shared it with 
and I really don’t plan on teaching my kids that grandma is now part of our home decor 
it’s just a good image / no practical purpose / not even for conversation 
just a northern bobwhite with fur instead of feathers


Rikki Angelides is a poetry MFA candidate at Emerson College. She lives in Boston, reads poetry for Redivider, and currently works as the Marketing Associate at Ploughshares. You can read her work in OCCULUMEmpty Mirror, and VAGABOND CITY. Find her on Instagram+Twitter: @rikki_angelides.

Rachel Roupp

When I’m Asked Why I Do Not Want a Son

I tell them girls are easier.
Say I’ll know how to raise a daughter,
don’t admit that I fear a son
will always remain a stranger.
 
I don’t tell them I fear of raising a weapon
of a man. I’m not sure I’ll never love a son right. 
I know what he can do, what he can turn out to be
if I am not the most perfect mother.
 
I don’t tell them I can’t imagine my body
housing one. I’m sure I’ll keep
bleeding boys before 
I discover what I’m growing.


Rachel Roupp is a poet from the mountains of Mansfield, Pennsylvania. Her work has appeared in Crab Fat MagazineChantwood MagazinePersephone’s Daughters, and Rag Queen Periodical, where she serves as the Social Media Coordinator. She just wants Dolly Parton to be proud of her.

Kristin Garth

Woman, Carbs Redacted  

Five rich old men cry over a sex crime
behind me while I wait, with earbuds out,
to hear my coffee called — so long this time 
I hear details — a ruined career, shouts
stand out inside a crowded bagel shop.
I hop up, rather wait beside the bar 
than hear them, teary-eyed, pontificate 
about the consequences as if they are 
just random acts of fate that happened to 
a puppet or a saint. I don’t know what 
he exactly did, but know there’s a woman who 
has been redacted from this tale.  I shut 
them out, earbuds. Some woman smells my bread.
I can’t eat it — resounds inside my head.


Kristin Garth is a Pushcart, Best of the Net & Rhysling nominated sonnet stalker. Her poetry has stalked magazines like GlassYesFive:2:OneFormer CactusOcculum & many more. She has six chapbooks including Shakespeare for Sociopaths (Hedgehog Poetry Press), Pink Plastic House (Maverick Duck Press), Puritan U (Rhythm & Bones Press March 2019) and The Legend of the Were Mer (Thirty West Publishing House March 2019). Her full length, Candy Cigarette Womanchild Noir is forthcoming April 2019 (The Hedgehog Poetry Press), and she has a fantasy collaborative full length A Victorian Dollhousing Ceremony forthcoming in June (Rhythm & Bones Lit) and Flutter (TwistiT Press) in January 2020.  Follow her on Twitter:  (@lolaandjolie), and her website kristingarth.com.

Kiley Lee

Looney Birds Blooming

It’s a full moon tomorrow night
The tall horse is loose again
and get those baby dolls off the roof
They do match the red nicely

Yes, 7 o’clock is pill time
They complete the pm
Did you see that mouse?
Right there! Just now!
I’m telling you...

How are your animals?
She remembers me
What are their names?
She doesn’t remember
“It’s okay. They’re fine.”

I remember when she made swans of 2’s
and when she told me about painting
designs on headboards in a factory

They paid good for steady hands

I remember the song she made for me
Talking animals, apple trees, laughing
all day — I wrote it all down

Do you still remember our song?
She smiles and winks
“Of course I do.”

And we sing


Kiley Lee is an artist and writer from Almost Heaven, West Virginia. Her poems have appeared inAnti-Heroin ChicGhost City ReviewMarias at Sampaguitas, and Mojave Heart Review. She also has work forthcoming at Animal Heart Press and is currently working on her first chapbook. Follow her on Twitter: @KBogart10 or on Instagram: @kileylee.writing.

Cyndie Randall

STRAND

First I found it in the dishwasher
            coiled around the soap dispenser lid
I pinched it and lifted             moved it to the garbage can
            rubbed my fingers together overtop the bag
It landed on the edge
            where it held center like an undecided seesaw
I left it to the breeze of our bodies
I suspect my neglect is how it got out
Next thing I knew
            it was snaked on the side of the milk carton
My daughter was the only witness
Did you pick it off       I asked             No       she answered
            ‘cause my Krispies were gettin’ soggy
Hair was living the good life now
            the sneaky night life
Next morning I saw it again
            balled up on the heel of my sock
                        making love to a piece of lint
A promiscuous little ass he is
Yes      Hair is a he
An egalitarian!            Abolisher of gender roles!
That’s why he went hugging that brush
            on the bottom of the vacuum
My mother told us vacuums could chop off your toes
            but Hair handled my Hoover just fine
This strand did his part and captured his weight in dust
            took the dog for a walk
                        hitched a ride on the saggy skin
                                    that hangs from Happy’s upper lip
Until I pulled, that is               
Happy chomped at the stringy sensation
            tongue lapping at the unseen
Those two were playing and didn’t even know it
After that I carried Hair to the forest floor
            planted him just under the decomposing bark
When we left              the dog’s tail waved goodbye
Right now                   I bet Hair is grinning
            holding together the branches of a robin’s nest or
                        sun bathing on a bed of
                                    newly sprouted grass
Every once in a while
            I think I spot him twirling around in the pasta
Well hi little trickster              I say
Except it can’t be him             can’t be my guy
I cook with my braids tied back                     
Still     I tickle the visitors when they come
            flick them up and away          wish them well
                        send them along in the company
                                    of my microscopic fingerprint
In the beginning          God knew
            it wasn’t good             for hair to be alone
What beautiful thing ever grew
            apart from another thing


Cyndie Randall holds a BA in Creative Writing/Poetry and an MA in Counseling. She works as a therapist and lives in Michigan on land that once belonged to the Potawatomi people. Her words have appeared or are forthcoming in Love’s Executive Order, Boston Accent LitThe Manifest-StationYes PoetryMojave Heart ReviewBarren Magazine, and elsewhere. You can connect with Cyndie on Twitter @CyndieRandall or at cyndierandall.com

Robin Lee Jordan

A Blessing: Morning 4

Today my boss will leave 
a 6 pack of beer on my 
porch, and also his salary. 
 
Landlord will let me turn 
on the fireplace even though
it is a fire hazard and the first 
thing I’ll burn is the lease 
because no one cares, Brian, 
that technically you could be 
charging us more, that you 
just gave us that initial rate 
because it was the middle 
of winter and we were white 
and you were in a hurry to take 
your kids to Disney World 
for the 3rd time that year. 
 
Today I won’t smile at 
a single person that chokes 
women and my stomach 
will blush with new roses.
 
Tonight the brakes
on my bike will finally 
let go and I’ll ride straight 
into the most expensive 
part of the most expensive 
cemetery spitting thorns 
for my father into the eyes 
of each mourner of which 
there will be few.


Robin Lee Jordan is the coordinator of the Just Buffalo Writing Center and started the coin-operated, micro-art exchange (B)uffalo (A)rt (D)ispensary. She received her MFA in Poetry from Oregon State University and her poetry/lyric prose has been published or is forthcoming in journals/anthologies such as DreginaldDream PopReality Beach, alice blue reviewPuerto del SolPaper DartsMy Next Heart: New Buffalo Poetry (Blazevox), and Us Too: An Anthology of Withdrawn Poetry (Peach Mag).

Hollis Teves

IN NEVADA

In Nevada there is a crater. 
And inside that crater there is another.
And inside that crater there is all the love in the world.
And it is much too small for everyone. 
In California the sea is less one unit of itself. 
In West Virginia the mountain is missing its head.
In Nevada all the love in the world is not enough.
It does not stop the biggest man from hurting.
It does not fill the smallest hole.


Hollis Teves is a non-binary queer poet who lives and works in Orange, CA and San Diego, CA. Their work has previously appeared in Calliope, Sapere Aude, The Messy Heads, and elsewhere, and they are the editor-in-chief of The Fruit Tree. Contact them at hnteves@gmail.com or on Twitter @unisexlove.

Eliza Jerrett

Shared Experience

He tells me that after
the coma, he dreamed
they moved his bed into
the center of the football 
field. People crowded 
around him, and he 
told them all the same 
joke, over and over,
again, and nobody 
responded.
 
But in the coma, there weren’t
really dreams, just people
gathering and retreating, 
smells and voices wriggling in 
like light through leaves.
Darkness, warm and womb-like,
the opposite of nothing.


Eliza Jerrett lives in Somerville, MA. Her work has been featured in Rumblefish QuarterlyOhio EditFirst Night Boston and the Boston Poetry Marathon.

Christie Towers

25 Conant Street Provincetown, MA

Was it a rage vacation
when I went to P-Town
alone and got a tattoo
to protect me against all
sorcery and invited Eliza
up, paid for her ferry
and everything, just so
we could dump so much
break-up wine on the white
blanket of the tiny Airbnb
and then stay up all night
trying to quietly wash it
in the shower?


Christie Towers is a poet living in the Boston area. Her work can be found in Narrative MagazineNimrod, Belle OmbreBodegaReality Hands and others.

Laura Kenney

three poems on the ‘mattress girl’ 

*cw for rape, sexual violence

on carrying 

thirty-eight inches by eighty; that is,
three feet by nearly seven feet of 
pushing, pounding, breaking, screams
and the sharp heat of palm across
cheekbone, eight months of carrying,
emma sulkowicz carrying their trauma; 
across classrooms, across campus, 
across the stage at graduation, 
a facsimile to the surface
upon which they were raped, 
a weight, a memory, a burden. 
 
they are dubbed ‘mattress girl’ by the press, 
a misnomer, they are neither ‘girl’ nor a girl 
made out of mattress, mattress-human, they are not 
made of the material that weighs on them 
nor the history that accompanies it. and at
the close, they do not dispose of it, the
surface-- how could they? as if it were ever
that simple. they graduate in spring
of 2015. that fall, i move into
my own university. i am issued
my own twin xl. 

on searching

emma sulkowicz’s fucking from four distinct 
angles, four cameras, not a recreation, 
they are adamant, not a recreation.
ceci n’est pas un viol, eight minutes, their fucking 
shot from four cameras, not actually the acts
of-- this is not a rape, the events of the video 
and the rape seemingly similar, timestamped
to the night of their rape, but not their rape. 
 
their questions for each viewer:
are you searching for proof? proof of what?
are you searching for ways to either hurt or help me?
what are you looking for?
 
eight minutes. eighty inches. the
surveillance aesthetics of it. the
four angles—side, back, front,
overhead—the naïve promise
of irrefutable proof. proof of what?
 
no record of the time i stopped breathing
in my own bedroom, on my own twin xl—
eight minutes, maybe eight hours, maybe
it never ended, maybe i am still holding 
my own breath while emma sulkowicz
is fucking and insisting that this footage
is not a recreation

on taking space

emma sulkowicz embodied the asterisk taped
black stars onto their areolas etched black
marks in ink across their topography and stood
before the close, the abstract pixelation the marks
of a man who admitted his misconduct, 
they said the asterisk
is actually an embodied experience
 
the asterisk
is a body is reduced to a
punctuation thrust flesh into
fleshiness and diluted into
interruption, is a diminutive form
of the greek astḗr, is a celestial
body
but smaller
 
to be asterisked is
to be marked and be mark
at once. if i am etched
into a solid thing
made annotation,
made being without will
i will, like sulkowicz,
eviscerate mere being—
i will
bleed the full page, obliterate
the urge to recreate,
i will instead be made of:
flesh blood indelible ink a spite
for being touchable
spit bile metal holes scars
and scars that form
the silhouettes
of things          that fly
 and blossom


Laura Kenney (she/hers or they/them) is a poet and conceptual artist based at Brown University in Providence, RI, where she spends her days haunting the local dollar stores and sticking her nose into abandoned spaces. Her poetry has appeared in Clerestory Journal of the Arts, and she is currently working on a text about sexual violence and bifurcated tongues.