Kate Rowberry is a young writer whose work has appeared in Paper Crane Journal and The Global Youth Review and has been recognized by the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers and Bow Seat. She also enjoys reading, but she is somewhat guilty of tsundoku. That TBR list must end somewhere, right?
Two Poems | Julián David Bañuelos
Julián David Bañuelos is a Chicano poet and translator from Lubbock, Tx. He is a graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop where he was a Provost Fellow, a Stanley Award Fellow, and a 2022 Fulbright semi-finalist. His work can be read in Wine Cellar Press, Latino Book Review, The Bayou Review, Acentos Review, and Annulet Poetics Journal. He currently lives and teaches in Iowa City.
The Reception | Joel Hans
I duck out from the reception—the dancing too surreal, the band too alive, the newly-married too happy, the margaritas too soft. I take a path to a hummock to a stream where I find a duck I recognize from a story my mother once told. A duck that carries people to the other side. I tell her I should get back, pointing toward the reception that’s gone quiet and feels a lifetime ago, and now she’s large enough to carry me. She lowers her head, asking me to climb aboard. To where—not across this timid stream, not across this land where the mosquito is the most common bird. I do. Over what. To where. She’s warmer than the stories had warned. Her wings steady as heartbeat. When she glides, the world around us goes silent as for the dead.
Joel Hans has published prose in West Branch, No Tokens, Puerto del Sol, The Masters Review, and others. He received his MFA from the University of Arizona and continues to live in Tucson, Arizona with his family. He can occasionally be found on Twitter @joelhans
i imagine dying is like standing | J. Freeborn
directly under the shower head,
water perfect temp. i imagine
dying is your brother in semi-dark
deer from the dining room.
imagine dying: a mountain range
of salt filling mouths all
wide & humble. if only
living things die then dying
is part of life; wisdom neglecting
a sense of home, historic lodes
returned to (for context). wisdom
is absent in a body neglected
but if survival is merely glimpsing
the summit then to say i am
not you, little thrush, is redundant.
what do you know yourself
by, during the secret hours?
what white sky, what stones
make love to your windows only
to be thrown right back. morning
is silence in the house of women
-no-longer-women & anger
perfected body realness
for a species so totally
busted no gallon of pathos nor
gorgeous quality accrued (with interest)
can save us.
J. Freeborn is a teacher and the anthology books managing editor at the Poetry Society of New York. They have recent work in Dream Pop, Tiger Moth Review, Impossible Task, and elsewhere.
Two Poems | Estelle Anderson
Sacred Festival Drama 1
Every day I
greet my ex’s shrink
shocked to find me in human form
My own therapist
subsists on crumbs – I’ve let
him down so
The monster who clogs through
has turned from grey to blue
If only I could bump into
a bar or symbol fresh enough
to feed any of them
To pull open the secret door
and let out a devil fruit
that’s switched sides
A ripe thing at least
to come through or go off
Stink bomb, fame salve,
gush logic triumph font, or
every rind-worthy thought
necessary joy check
already bitten the map host
and chewed the root cure
she’s pressed out from lost hoist
in failure to thrive lure
all eau d’eviction notice and levis cut-off tears
behind chest plate heart wait/ and weighted
the girl image called wordy gerty gets her due
industrial, she directed everything sturdy, on cue
literally steering the mother of all things around for donkey’s years
1:short kick for right
2:palm over palm for hard left
3:this mother never missed as inside girl direct fist toward
4:unlucky completion valve and a lot of grass-eating wholeness
(Grass-fed would sound better years later and meat plant copy edits bankrolled her descendants for time at least)
Estelle Anderson is a writer and teacher from Toronto,Canada.
The Upside to Dying in a Forest | Kyo Padgett
Kyo Padgett is a Florida-based interdisciplinary artist. She holds an MFA from Stetson University’s MFA of the Americas and is the current art editor at Burrow Press Review. She can be found online @kyo.padgett or @kyopadgett
Stockholm | Cyndie Randall
Lugging your body
is my new talent
For dinner I order
a bowl of spaghetti for me
ice for you
speak about work war politics
When I take your body to the zoo
I prop it up
near the cheetah cage
hold your eyes open
I say isn’t it sad
how she’ll pace for miles
but go no where
you fall on the floor
They shout Slain in the spirit!
and it makes me wonder if you’ve changed
They say a man dies
the same way he lived
I say you’re better
company now –
Me taking you for ice cream
You keeping your hands
If God is too busy
to decide where you belong
to consult with me
Cyndie Randall’s poems appear or are forthcoming in minnesota review, DIAGRAM, The Florida Review, Frontier Poetry, Crab Creek Review, and elsewhere. She works as a therapist and lives among the Great Lakes..
wanting, waiting | Ami Patel
the night statics
with the heat of your invite.
you shape soft rubies of lava
in your throat,
turn me to devour.
my body now whistles
with the steam of no mercy.
i sprawl on your veranda
like summer’s first breath.
you linger, disturb my waters.
these rivers dissect
only to be seamed together
by sinew of moonlight, the air
hollow of birdsong
until you exhale their bones.
Ami Patel (she/her) is a queer, diasporic South Asian poet and Young Adult fiction writer. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee and Tin House alum. Ami’s poems are published in various places,including perhappened mag, The West Review, and Moss. You can find her online at amipatelwrites.com.
A Gay Man’s Circus | Andrej Bilovsky
On a roof with no hands
my voice mistakes me for a hive of consents
a high pitch calling on the chants of the young.
The butcher’s sky drips blood.
My exaggeration paints the clouds.
I lay claim to a brooding ground of wishes.
Held tight, eyes pop out of my veins.
A man hung with tears
arrives through a window, leaves by the door
I make for him a box of laughter,
as smooth as the teeth between his ears.
My temples beat. His echoes have echoes.
The world outside is multiplied by traffic.
Within, the angels boast faces and names.
Eyelashes approach from a closeted mirage.
So this is Babylon, alive and well
and living in my kitchen.
It is two men with barely a bride between them.
Andrej Bivlovsky (he / him) is a poet and performance artist. Former editor of Masculine-Feminine and Kapesnik. His poetry can be found at the Quiver and Down in The Dirt.
Et Tu Antechamber | Evan Isoline
As stories go, I took you for a fool, stagefright in the nuit blanche, come quick blame the fire, unless it be my old story, my distant father splotched by the effect of war, whose white lineless breasts were never beyond the arc of the ghost, I sink a hold upon your language so far up in the face of the sky that my eyes flush copper, my cup overflows like a self-love that has always been a dry pit, the taste of piss itself just like the birds that wash up on the livid sands, blame god, quick, get shittier watching the ocean evaporate my tears for tomorrow I hold on, the setting so complex & nimble from afar beyond focus yet here a star, hear the potential & idealitude blustering, look upon my design, show my morning
drowsing nodules of
read in the floating marbles of my
our tearful witness of each other…
may feel I belong
n’t you drop something for a flower? you said
Strafing through heather and heath fields and placidities of
heathnesses away, like heathen sun goddesses clad in
swimming clothing of llama colors, naked but barefoot
camelheather call-in nausea it creams flowers bright
tears for tender jessica blue, tears of japonicum, sister of
soft violet septice and slate blue jessicite was that you
my sunshine? You shook my petals.
Wilt not that the folds of the great oval morning follow me down that sheeplike drop, one on which thousands of my dreams gather. Bride my tulip bathed in bitter tears of sass and ferocity in wild rage your lanky hand-drawn shields my fabric shield in deluge of holy blush to shoulder the fire flush your hot cheek in love that purple morning the purple aspens shiver.
Highboy he wakes up bruised in the salt gloaming if not yours call in graveyards it’s okay this time we’ll lay to rest this time we’ll say namaste,
it’s My Bride through Tarantulas, shoulders wade bare in the sea your seaworthiness scattered on the lapping waves drawing comfort from the burning shape of the sun in my skull from deep inside then only then it’s
my Tarantula Bride it’s byzantine waves taunting full of salty mercy, fire beneath my skin is still there and I am broken, young, and bruise-coloured.
Smearing walls in quiet crypts, the peacock takes my meat
with a frown
with a frown my lips should be there
what for the king of wounds, my bleeding heart
what for the king of wounds, why won’t you come and bite me
in that nurse’s hands who took my arm and said I can’t say it
if I could I would say it, I’d say it, why won’t you bite me,
these mirrors flaunting me, through roofs of mascara to
of slow shifts in
slow funerals, endless, a basic war varietal, cirrus me our underground, purpura-ciel, only an eyelash missing, deeper than the abysses you shall find me, resting, on embers of snow-flower lay below envalleyed the skin a gesture I gather for the fire, heed the broken shall I drift arrest my wound shall open the valley, in unspoken promises and speech shall I kneel in the mud, in spoken words the veil lifts that sunlight can read in its vast shadow must I go within that too, incisus flume, my brassiere smoking with incontinence I’m glad the sheeplike velvet has come full course, my my, my blushing beauty is void, my self there’s nothing to it, only the grail of tessellated perfection
My gown of the sun the fire will eat
a dance for divinity
as I wait to be loved to say we broke through, but never
did we break.
I’m still awake you spread out in my audition field not a poet deeper who is humble without your hand in mine I would stumble, I had to stumble, & not a time dreaming there a sneeze of velvet in violet feather, my wings so delicate a boy becomes a man to fly with, echolalia only howling am I, howling for you
my nostrils and my lips a muffle of hay and saliva, dreaming there of cities cut to ribbons out there side-loomed vacuums until you’re holding me still, slowly wept tears and bitten
then now remember who you are, who the martyr I have always been: a bride scum boy, I stand up like a knight all tattooed erasure the future of the world is written on our bodies not the other way round and can you see it I know you can see it, the torment, the power, the resolve
Christ, this world has no love, no love, the bow is useless, standing here crying, Christ
slowly I undress.
My silence still mumbling quilted under the eyes
of the grey queen and the stars we fuck to revive our moths black as the calm of noon, long as the shadow of dawn.
I’m still awake. The theater’s in ruins. The gardens are on fire. Each arteriole is hot and burning with the capacitance of my disappointment. I am too shy, too excruciatingly shy, I would cry for a flower if you had one to give me, I would beg for a word if you had one to say, without saying a word I kiss the penis of a dead president and hope that no one notices. A crepuscular bird.
I kiss. Frost on hogweed. Your breath and your light, ringed in dream punctures the skin of flaming heather, we already taste the tears that fall upon the wind of this revelation, aurora-green or champagne brushstrokes against your cheek might spell surrender if the world weren’t so numbly indifferent to the defenselessness of our oppression.
Beauty is only beauty if you possess the duty to recognize it.
A vast, open rectangle of purple slowly rotates in my mind. Perhaps this is how some fish navigate the ocean’s surface, an archangel who is obliged to go into the sea to inspect the corpses of so many stars. Duty to recognize beauty is its own limit, I am too shy.
As matched in the bittern ‘s maternity and due to therese my cold, one must love. Gather, gather, exhale our usufruct in the excurrent breath, bury racemes sobbing after theresaic vu in the night-sea, take the eye to the bloom’s ground where the pearl whorl like a clown’s bead stanched our palm’s tear in the backstitch, in the milky flou, ulcers cool the joys of sweetness on wings the sessile stormstorm flight of petals out-to-sea, the crust of chrysanthemum seas my skull sang all the histories of the body invisible to the eye split your daily sacred dove tears run like candles dripping from the cottage door windows, even candles spatter no fire my eye the fire behind your sight for now my woman scum man, this constant flickering hunger, born of femininity and Sumerian night, my love is an ontogenetic pure fury, a bonjour from a sailor of whose drift I choke on the endless entendre of his snuffling hair. I like to present to you my philosophy, in a velvety bodice, buried by the froth of annatto.
You and I are consanguinamorous, O Ancora d’Europa, I know you understand! I’ll get the astrolabe from the Victorian scientist, I’ll build a compass to measure the degrees of my planet’s axial tilt, I’ll bring its tilt back to where it belonged in the days of your generation, I’ll place it on my belly and measure it from below the veil of the mother, O Bambino Deus, and from the top of my genitals. And then I’ll calculate the fault lines of the contour, and I’ll fit each fault to its livelihood, and show you a land created of ruined angles.
What I want to know is what is at the source of the source, would
n’t you? Silence
be thy primary settler, boom-boom, single possession buy my land there is nothing here for you can’t I just marry the locust body rent my acreage aspire backwards inwardly to restfulness obliterate boundaries hoard alone, deface, die blow till all within me is lost coldly behind my shield of fear, puritans sweating in the blue shade, fear puritanic our romance it’s been azurely planned, stop believing in the heteroglossia of stagnation, all that we have to do is shed the pink sward we have to say it’s not you, love it’s me stand among the fools then I must sail away without any of their money cry to the mast of this great emigrant, Oh variegato mare, wail into the foam, your tide is calling our message on a pale thunder wearing the wings of a butterfly, a hermaphrodite exile torn from its sisters now that there are so few of us left to bear witness to our creation, Oh bloom-bloom, Oh, c’est impossible—Ours is no age.
History can be made by listing things in sequence, by making straight lists of ordered combinations and combinatorial descriptions of discrete objects.
Make a rectangle. Use the scale of the ruler to draw a fixed proportion of its two sides. Keep going until you are making a square.
How many times does the square look like a square? Write down what you think the answer is, and then draw a straight line from one point of the square to another. Leave imperfect improvisations on the graph paper against specious color patterns set against the white with the white set against the black.
White is night but only its opposite.
The color of history, the beautiful disgust of guileless wrath, for its Face I gazeth upon
a moist spectra of golden tears in the crannies of sunlit mosses and leaves, the still of summer their bliss and the dark of winter their ethereal torpor, leaves in rippling gulps of autumn’s wind our waters defy gravity, golden veils of feathers in flight these cloud-like folds of the vivid banners our unbending comfort’s human endeavor, from here we watch in silent
prolonged infantile wonder.
Colours are weapons.
Colours in Leith, counterpoised English birds, colours in monasteries, feigning absence, the colors of our conception of love, we shall care little for each other there is no passion, the sky was emptied so we could walk upon its surface sail safely to Greece, our exile has begun back here is fear.
We put indigo in the blood of still water.
The sun is a very old weapon, the sun in
that if you lit up this
I would find
drawings of you
scratched across my black
a diamond drill
I imagine we’d look
like a parody of fascism.
Colour is the object of cognition
cogitate until one thinks one sees color everywhere.
Have you noticed that the difference between the history of one person and the history of the world is that the history of one person is contained within the history of the world?
Et tu Pompeii,
you make me feel so small.
My apophantic love is like a function of simple worst-case absolutes, the thing is the thing is the thing is the thing is the thing, make a rectifier of what it is, make a diagram of it, make a new history, blow my mind.
Not a trace of a past that other men have not revealed in me. No trace of the water that peals forth from a black iris in the azure of a blue sea, of a colonized bay, of a virgin land with no trace of people, how I pray to be the face of your dreams, or better, to be the voice of your nightmares! In that ecstasy let us forget the inherited language of the pain that makes us objects to be moved and willed over; now you look at the sight of my act as it truly is: where the contours of action are hidden within the space of the moment. How is it? How do you feel?… My opposite, whose ilexes are patinated by the humidity of blood. I think of how one, like me, fashions the curtain in the image of this filth, this secret, from which I will one day emerge,
I am eating a piece of corn. Fucking petrels dip their mouths in the garbage. A joke of Zeus throwing up clouds. The three beautiful words that decide our fate, the three wonderful questions that have brought us together, the three spoken syllables that formulate our identity! I love you. My ass is urinating.
I go to the latrine.
I go to the Library of Congress.
I go to the theater.
It’s the night of the donkey mouth the night of the cuckoo the night of the war
What am I
Receive me, accept me, will you not? You don’t know the way I love you,
I listen to the accents of our city while simultaneously affixing to my face some kind of mask of identity that won’t reveal me. I participate in the general consensus and enjoy its seemingly mum cacology—becoming an almost invisible man.
Yet here I am. And this is what I’m doing: trying to make clear, here and there, the means of my communication. My language.
Gather the satin embroidery in the depths of my pelvis, to you I reveal the tissues that supply the ego and its pleasures, uniting them here I direct the least clear vision that you will not would never just couldn’t turn away from. I love you.
What good is a revolution if not for the incorrigible numbness that follows?
Or does the Revolution go on too long?
Maybe there’s no time
to feel by sawing the moon from night into midday, maybe
the sun’s not risen again to shine in its eyeteeth
the apathy of gears
I hold it at a distance, in a chamber, there is no square, there is no city to be erased, there is no point to be acknowledged, and in the end I am compelled only to gaze at a child’s drawing of a tower
in this room of impossible beginnings there is a future without significance, or there is one without the other, et tu, manque de proxy as a panting sigh under the brownly milk blisters of a stillboy, feel my trembling hands on your throat, coquelicot is the loveliest of words, it comes in waves, I say out loud: coquelicot waves, I hear the rustling curtain.
As stories go, I took you for a fool, just blame our age, true & colorful, the kingdom of science runs too fast, O Ecce Homo you stopped running centuries past, what kind of clown does not know how to bury his own heart? I will be the void of the scene that makes you and not the scene that makes me. Where are you, voyeur, in these uncomprehending and unimaginative restorations of a history whose facts and fictions were destroyed so long ago? Where are you, frozen as a carousel whose sole
rider is an automaton, knowing that at no time will you know the thing that I do, that your eyes will be unable to understand the action I show you, to say: The solace of thought dissolved by the influx of love is a fantasy not even you could sustain. Our love was already eternal.
So I say I love you, say I re-extricated myself
from this coalescence of closed flowers
by the blackwater
rosecrest’s feathersheath growing into the sign of the human fish of death
violent lysis, pale canescent hoar, flag of rage, it is not love that is buried beneath the stage,
it’s a horse.
Godspeed. Art is the sun which never sets. History on the other hand, has become the god that never even horizoned.
Evan Isoline is a writer and artist living on the Oregon coast. He is the author of PHILOSOPHY OF THE SKY (forthcoming from 11:11 Press) and the founder/editor of a literary project called SELFFUCK. Recent writing has been published or is forthcoming at 3:AM Magazine, Full-Stop, Always Crashing, Witchcraft Mag, Territory and more. Find him @evan_isoline.