born bored left alone in the bleachers blonde and doe eyed the trailer parks were simple in their sorrow storm country minor parts in the corner played one song for a mother who wore her surroundings thin tearing stitches it was a clean break cellular contraction four months in solitude drinking from unsteady hands Dina holds pills steady breathing like you got somewhere else to be and it’s only desolation peaking planted like a thing unsure is it supposed to move introduce itself or scream at the wall paper can’t dance in this public housing sunlight unwatched around boxes how we never were point to the edge of the map scream! and strong men moved in me like furniture reeked but the guards knew my poetry was silent I asked to be loved not held to the floor and hands once cared what they touched ached ate food ached called on the phone what did the lawyer say what did the doctor say am I ever never crazy can I have my comb back it doesn’t cut very deep it’s all on camera they loosed me loaned me my clothes and loop I always thought you were angry and hid it for points girl said in day room but the shouting of a friend trying to die in the quiet white four wall grabbed at the big nurse he’s fatal with his eyes I knew you couldn’t make it alone needed an ally in this ward I stood with you refused to strip he waited us out we were animals to him howling I held you no names just both of us very scared today I journaled like this to reach you with my solitude bum scar I know it got worse I heard the news dead at 18 we never had a chance you were beautiful once I won’t forget… Continue reading “Two Poems | by James Diaz”
The Eyes Dilate Larger Here
after Graham Foust’s “From a Finished Basement”
Your eyes, a hundred lightbulbs,
throb like drugs.
But from me or the dusk?
Here we are, not
speaking in the loose way.
There is no better silence.
Here we are, not afraid.
Are we not afraid of a kiss?
Not to kiss?
we are not speaking of,
speak. Continue reading “Two Poems | by Alexis Bates”
wet as i am
my sad morphed into a massive wave. i shoved furtive poet toward shore & swam into the deep. water slapped onto my head, pushed me under, & i saw a man yelling & dragging his pitbull puppy across the concrete. i began to sink, body porous & filled with the weight of the zombie-eyed woman sitting outside the 7-eleven; we flipped grilled cheeses together until she came to work on meth, slashed off her apron with a butcher’s knife, & ran out the back door into forever. below the surface was dark & cold & heavy as if each & every street sign bearing a former lover’s name was thrown, stacked, cross-crossed on top of me. i’ve been in therapy long enough to know eventually i’ll gasp to the surface, claw to shore, command furtive poet to stop asking if i’m okay & instead to bend me over a warm rock & fuck me as the sun returns me to a hardened sponge, to fuck me until i forget i’ve ever been as wet as i am for him right now.
Continue reading “Two Poems | by Raina K. Puels”
dream sequence I
these nightmares don’t behave as they used to / sometimes they get up and walk around the room / sometimes they stretch out, do little jumping jacks in the corner / sometimes they ask politely to use the restroom // on sundays they wake up adjacent / kiss the cheek/ slip downstairs and make themselves coffee. sometimes, sadness as breath / sadness as jackals / smiling with teeth like soil / walking upright / hunting with spears like men / telling their children lullabies at nighttime / and losing sleep over rent. Continue reading “Three Poems | by Iskandar Haggarty”
Mother Hen Mick
Jagger is most certainly
a mother figure and he’s
a mother hen
to the whole thing.
He’s not a cock-a-doodle-doo; he’s much more
like a brothel keeper—
or a madame. Continue reading “Two Poems | by Helmüt Garrett”
When you said we each choose our own death I asked your ghost
to guide me. Among your abandoned drafts: silence and spaces,
the height of the flame, the torn page, blood under the words.
When the wound was cauterized, you painted your lips around it.
I’m talking to you, Clarice.
And I will keep your secrets, everyone else’s on top of my own.
I won’t speak of the spells you cast, how in the dark
you’d search for the words that would steal something
back from the dead. And those parts of yourself
you thought were dead. The lives you could’ve lived.
Husbands never understand words like yours, or gods,
or bodies. How the name you were given,
one I’ve been called before and in anger,
was buried behind others until you were.
Twice forged of mutable fire, under a new moon
and planets laid down like stones on a grave.
How many marks of erasure, how many pages you let burn.
I’m with you now. The moon’s in your sign again.
Full just past dawn, and my body will rise to meet it.
Do you write the story of decay or does it write you.
Did you cause more harm with your hands or your mouth.
Like you I longed for silence but someone always near,
someone there to weigh each breath. Your ghost was me
called by another name. Like you I was a night person. Continue reading “Two Poems | by Emma Morris”
The electron looks like it wants you. Nothing flashes desire
like acrobatic ambivalence. Like irreconcilable cleavage.
You want an unfailing confusion, honest against you in bed. Not your
other half. Your inmost mosaic, your micro shatterings. Not a mirror.
An atom’s latticed window. Through it,
a tiny bird flying in every direction at once.
You send the electron an advance. Tell yourself it must be real,
it must be real, to account for missing
momentum, missing energy. Continue reading “Mail-Order Electron | by Brooke Larson”