Sober II (Melodrama) | by Logan February

after Lorde.
for Eli, my perfect stranger

6 in the AM. Haven’t slept in years.
Lately, I’ve been dancing like I don’t
have depression. I open my mouth
into a dusk as dirty as the soles
of my bare feet. I taste rain from
the leaky roof, probably laced with
some toxin or another. Yikes. I’d text
you but I don’t have your number.
Something keeps crawling in my bed
& it’s not me. I streamline my whole
obsession, go full crazy & start
to crave death again. Wash dirty
hands with dirty water. I’m so fake
I didn’t even kiss you in my mind.
//
I didn’t even kiss you in my mind
regardless of all the shadows. I am
trailing terror across my teeth,
one by one. Can you tell from my pulse —
thick, rushing, elusive. I obsess, it’s fine.
Still, the thing in my bed is me, which
is terrifying. Serpentine. I didn’t know
I had a snake in me. But just imagine it.
Supposing every bright thing were
thoroughly darkened, what then?
I can’t be with you or without. Trick
question. Take a shot every time
I say kiss. 420. Blaze it. Or whatever.
My body emptied itself during the wait.
//
My body emptied itself during the wait,
so let’s say I finally got out of bed. Hair
tousled, shaved, bleached even. Brushed
my teeth and eyebrows. Got some
toothpaste in my eye, but please don’t
make me tell you how often I cry. I’m not
going down that road. Not today. Nope.
Today is a good day. You know,
sometimes, functional mostly just means
manic. I’ll be passive aggressive, lash out
at everyone but you. God, why you?
I don’t even know you. But. I have fresh
underwear on—I’m going to smile
until my face freezes in that position, yes.
//
Until my face freezes in this position? No.
Just take the damn picture already.
My chest hurts, I think I’m in love. I haven’t
broken my dusk skin with scissors in,
what, two months? Progress, right? Please
don’t forget me. We’re strangers I know, so
these promises are just make believe.
But then again, all of me is make believe
and I don’t believe. I just make, make. . .what?
I make a mess, fool of myself. I’m rabid
and I look like a dog. So why don’t you love me?
It’s high noon now, LOL. I should sleep,
except I can’t. Tell me again how I learned
to be lucid, to feel the knife and still not let go.
//
To be lucid, to feel the knife and still not let go,
is that weird? I don’t know, all my friends
think i might be a masochist. the word
i needed was feline, though I don’t own a cat.
I can’t take care of anything except my feelings,
which is toxic, but not as toxic as smoke.
At this point, I might die, man, can you hear
my heart? Can you? I just want you to touch me,
I imagine i would crumble, but so so slowly,
it looks like history erasing itself. Like
the coliseum falling into ruin. Yes, I do believe,
if you touched me, I would be ruined. I’m light
-headed. I call it the insomnia effect. Also, are
the windows getting wider or is that just me?
//
Are the windows getting wider or is that just me?
Huh. I’m a total escapist, I apologize. As if
I could make an art of it. Like Houdini, except
in love, and not dead. I keep getting distracted,
I swallowed so much smoke, still couldn’t fall
asleep. Strange, because usually I’m doing all
but swallow. When last I had a proper meal,
that’s one question too many. But what if the sky
took off its silk and stockings, stopped being
such a prude. Came downstairs stark naked.
What if I could love you like a song instead
of white noise. What if unicorns were real.
What if money could buy this exact fantasy.
No one knows. Or cares. At least not me.
//
No one knows. Or cares. At least not me.
So I ignore everything, leave it to ferment
into a good violent blur. Seconds become
liquid. I do too. Become liquid, I mean.
Fuck, I really messed this up, didn’t I? I’m
sorry. I don’t know how to love or be loved.
Only to want. Clean and desperate. I’m so
high I could taste a sea’s worth of salt,
all of it. I could learn to sing and i’d echo
for seventeen more years. I just want love.
Like white flowers, unfurling at dawn. Noon
is full of vanishing, my bed folded in on itself.
I sleepwalked all the way to your window. Again,
it’s 6 in the AM & it’s like I haven’t slept in years. Continue reading “Sober II (Melodrama) | by Logan February”

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”