Hit | by Chance Dibben

Examine the disconnect
examine the fire. A plane crash and government search.
Hit POUND to be found. Hit FIRE to examine

the wrong cheeseburger.
The worst; a prisoner released early
(or was he). Hit HEAD to be there. Hit HEAD to go home.

Plurality of imagined experiences (you had to be there)
fire the examiners. You can do real on your own.
It ain’t your plane that crashed. It ain’t you escaping. Continue reading “Hit | by Chance Dibben”

living is binary | by Caseyrenée Lopez

i’m learning how         to knit         with my fingers
              you’d never guess       how many times
i’ve failed at failing                           i’m bad at talking to myself
              truth is:            who cares                         i don’t
              i’m                     not equipped                   for the long haul
but i’m              well i’m chasing my tail in triangles
& forcing geometry                   to align with my preconceived notions
of how to be a               world finger knitting champion
or maybe         i’ll blossom                       into a round slick bottomed
black & yellow honeybee         haven’t i been telling you           the truth for
years                   if i were a spider,         maybe a lovely black widow
or charlotte                     spinning webs               i wouldn’t
               be a liar & this wouldn’t           be debatable
               everyone wants to         save the bees
& kill the spiders             this is all i have            the binary of life & death
the good & the wicked i could finger knit you a sweater
that’s stained with        my blood & you’d call it what it is:                       ruined
i’ve imagined what i could                    accomplish if i were waking up
              every day & trying on new                     fingers
would there be a sense of urgency that is often missing Continue reading “living is binary | by Caseyrenée Lopez”

Scott says | by Dessa Bayrock

Scott sits in my house after his grandmother dies
and tells me all the ways they might sew her mouth shut
for the funeral.

                             There are three main ways they do it, he says.
                             There’s a kind of mouthguard, and a dermal punch,
                             or sometimes they might attach wires to the gums
                             to crank the mouth closed. And if none of that works,
                             they’ll just sew you up. Needle and thread.

Scott stares into his tea.
He’s been reading a book about mortuaries, which he recommends.
He’s learned all kinds of useful information, especially now,
with both of us considering how we would want our own mouths kept closed
when we die. Continue reading “Scott says | by Dessa Bayrock”

A Correspondence Between Laura and Dale, 1989 | by Kolleen Carney Hoepfner

What does it mean      when all we have between us
is the lap lap lap of river water           against a blue cheek
the smell of minerals and fish              the grit of the shore

And do you remember                          when you told me all you saw in me
was the void and cloudless sky—       do you remember the rush of stars
on our faces and when I leaned in     I whispered and you turned

and took my hand        What does it mean when we emerge together
with twigs in our hair and mouths     And will you rescue me
over and over again     Do you promise                       Will you save me Continue reading “A Correspondence Between Laura and Dale, 1989 | by Kolleen Carney Hoepfner”

Portrait of the Artist, Still Angry | by Jamie Laubacher

Learn to swim for the express reason of jumping ship.
Marry knucklebones and kerosene.
Paint your face like the war machine it is, invite the anarchists over for tea and cheat with the one sitting closest to you on the left. Give her a fake name.
Burn your stomach walls thin with coffee and dark rum then tune the shreds of your innards to drop D. Pluck. Repeat. Ignore the fact that you took 8 years of lessons and still can’t play.
Don’t sleep – the hours of 11pm to 4am are reserved for smashing your heart open like a piggy bank and realizing you never did save anything.
Scream like a goddamn banshee.
By the time the aching in your throat stops, the ringing in your ears will start and soon you’ll realize the ringing is in your head, and in your fingers, and your stomach, and never on your phone. Dial 9-1-1 then use both thumbs to play chicken with the “call” button.
Cry when the steps to your apartment look like familiar teeth. Cry when you remember where the books on your shelf came from. Cry when you miss your mom.
Beat at your chest like the empty oil drum it is, fill it with the cardboard from all the 12-packs you weren’t the one drinking, take the last of the kerosene you divorced in the end and light it all on fire. Light yourself on fire, change your mind, jump ship.
Ignore the fact that you took 8 years of lessons and still can’t swim. Continue reading “Portrait of the Artist, Still Angry | by Jamie Laubacher”