Three Poems | by Catherine Chambers

The Modern Amazon

My thigh is touching the thigh
of the guy next to me
I’m staring at my Best Subway Read
to let him (and everyone)
know that I don’t notice it.
I am noticing it. I can’t tell
if he’s pressing into me on purpose.
I can pretend that I’m not
thinking about holding my ground,
fighting on behalf of all womankind
encroached upon by a man’s flaring thighs.

I shrug my purse further onto my shoulder
in the same way one would hoist a spear.
The girl next to me is texting about someone
putting their dick in her face on the subway,
again. My urge to hug her is entirely
inappropriate. I imagine hurling my body
over hers, a human shield like in movies,
the two of us holding fast in a flood of men.

This fight is more important to me
than the idea that some guy
might wonder if I’m pressing my thigh
into his thigh on purpose.

 

 

Salt Deficient

I dream that I tattoo the insides of my ears by hand.
Before they heal I tip my head to the side
and dump hydrogen peroxide on my new blood.
My ears subsequently burst into flames. I don’t
put the fires out because my organs are crystallizing.
My tongue becomes a block of salt. There is no good
way to interpret dreams about ears, according to Google.

I become paralyzed by the taste of salt. I eat bland food
hoping my diet will beget bland dreams. I stop being able
to turn my head as the moisture is sucked from me.
When I dreamt, I would wiggle my toes to wake myself up;
the person who taught me this also fractured my jaw.
There is no good way to interpret that, either.

 

 

Ziggy Stardust is Dead

Okay suppose we are together
and I’m drinking nervously.
If it’s dire you’ll know because
I’ll have a plastic bottle of Jack Honey
in my Longchamps bag.

It’s waterproof canvas
after all – and to the woman
in Nordstrom who told me that
the more expensive one is the one
everyone gets when I asked medium
or large do you think medium is fine
because I don’t carry that much stuff? –
I am sorry about whatever happened
to make you need to hustle your own
kind and I am sorry that I was so sad
that I came in here to buy a new purse.

You and I can stop to pour one out into the slush.
“Come and meet us.”

Stand on Houston and look up
at him, winter sky, come down
and blow your mind.

 

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Catherine Chambers is an Asian-American mermaid living in Texas with her dog, Bob Dylan. She is currently completing her MFA at the University of Southern Maine and edits Poets Resist for Glass: A Journal of Poetry.

Twitter: @CatChamberz

 

 

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”

Two Poems | by James Diaz

4/27/17

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”

Two Poems | by Alexis Bates

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.

Of what?
Are we not afraid of a kiss?
Not to kiss?

       To what
          we are not speaking of,
speak. Continue reading “Two Poems | by Alexis Bates”

Two Poems | by ​​​Raina K. Puels

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”

Three Poems | by Iskandar Haggarty

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”