when the time period referred to has not finished – jesica carson davis

rory bjorkman

*
Remnants from the before

……………………………………what does this represent for you

object permanence                                       versus illusion

……………..we are all just visiting

*
This is how we let things go

……..by saying them and then waiting

……………..for their echoes                     for their ghosts

……………………….to fade until no longer recognizable

*
……………….Always coming home or going someplace

not an absolute decision

………………………………….two opposites simultaneously true

hold it close but with enough                            loose

………………………………….to slip away              if it needs to

……..if it               must

*
There are many names

…….a pool from which to choose

……………………………..the separation of bodies

…………..the difference of space between

this container we are all just                                borrowing

hourglass

Jesica Carson Davis is a poet and technical writer originally from Chicago, now living in Denver after several decades of travel. Her work has appeared in The Laurel Review, Zone 3, Columbia Poetry Review, Stoneboat, Storm Cellar, and other places. Jesica is an Associate Editor for Inverted Syntax literary journal, studied poetry at the University of Illinois (as well as The New School, NYU, and Poets House), was the final Alice Maxine Bowie Fellow at Lighthouse Writers Workshop (2016-2017), and won the Tarantula Prize for Poetry (Pilgrimage Press, 2018). Currently, she’s working on several poetry manuscripts and an ongoing project making poemboxes, which sculpturally interpret her words.

 

three poems – eric ranaan fischman

erase

Shelter

When I was a boy I learned
not to cry. I don’t know how.
I needed a wall, so I built one.
It was easy. Later I learned
that you can’t tell everyone
who you are. There are shapes
to fit in public places. Two walls
with a door. They told me
I shouldn’t sound so smart
if I wanted to make friends. You
have to drink, you have to have
fun. Four walls with a roof.

When I went out, I left myself
inside. I wore whatever costume
was expected of me. It was easy.
I learned to hide my anxiety, to
play parts. Bolts on the windows,
the shades drawn. What was
crying like again? I am a social
butterfly. I am a chameleon.
You will never see me bleed.
You will never feel the bruises
in my ribs. You will never even
make it to the front door.

 

Memory Rewritten According to the Way I Wish It Happened

Manhattan drives 18 hours through the night
from California to see me. I ask what’s wrong
and she tells me. She tells me everything.
We open to each other like doorways. We kiss
and the last two years melt away. It’s like
she never left. When we make love, our problems
don’t follow us into bed. There is no fear in
either of us, no hesitation. We wrap like vines
around each other’s trunks. We fall asleep.
The next day, we walk around the lake. She says
she never stopped loving me. She’s sorry and
so am I. If only we had been braver, if we hadn’t
run so far. That night we cook together and
the silence is so full of her eyes and lips that
I could die right now. “You don’t have to leave,”
I say. “Stay one more night.” She says, “Okay.”

 

Erasure of a Depressing Poem to Reverse Its Effects

Depression Poem

Every morning I wake up to an empty
bed, feeling rejected by the night before.
Every minute is a fresh heartbreak,
every sunrise an opportunity to burn.
It takes most of the day for me to
feel human again. My body whole,
my mind in its right boxes. But by then
it’s bedtime, and I lay down naked,
alone, in the darkest dark I can

hourglass

Eric Raanan Fischman is the incredible changing man. By the time you read this, he could be a bird, or an alligator. A faculty member at the Beyond Academia Free Skool, his work has appeared in the Boulder Weekly, Bombay Gin, and in the recent Punch Drunk Poetry Anthology. His first book, “Mordy Gets Enlightened,” was published through The Little Door at Lunamopolis in 2017. He is probably a chimney right now, but he might be a caterpillar, or a crane. He might be dust.

Photo: Zane Lee

lesser than less – rob plath

samuel zeller

i
want
to
feed
this
skin
to
the
wind
on
a
rooftop
&
sit
silently
kicking
my
bone
legs
over
the
ledge
in
the
moonlight

hourglass

Rob Plath is a writer from New York. He has published 21 books over the last 25 years. He’s most known for his monster collection A BELLYFUL OF ANARCHY (epic rites press). He lives alone w/ his cat & stays out of trouble. See more of his work at www.robplath.com

Photo: Samuel Zeller

because you can’t drink with your mouth closed – colin dodds

dodds.jpg

He pissed his cornflake juice
in the expensive of the hallway belonging
to the soap opera queen.

From the din of the kitchen,
people wearing last year’s orgasm
tossed glances like stones at his wet head.

Awful faces hanging on fangs—
pancake make-do and sideburns stitched
to a general sense of pointiness—in a place
where the winged quality-of-experience police
have no jurisdiction.

But he had to go and do it,
he opened his desert flower onto
the auctionyard of seized cars.
His friends said:

“We’re your friends
and we’re not your friends,
we can never leave
but we’ll see you later,
okay?”

Anyway, it was little miss
whoever’s whatever birthday
and she spent all day getting into those pants
and men appoint themselves
bouncers in stripclubs as we speak
so maybe you better lower your tone
in regard to the birthday girl and Ms. Nose.

But won’t shut up, he threw a moist box
at Toby the BMX-racer’s head,
the crowd is ready to open into him
with its toddler teeth, and Cody
and the boys’re goin to turn
that sky inside out
and make a closet of bruises.

hourglass

Colin Dodds is a writer with several novels and books of poetry to his name. He grew up in Massachusetts and lived in California briefly, before finishing his education in New York City. Since then, he’s made his living as a journalist, editor, copywriter and video producer. Over the last seven years, his writing has appeared in more than three hundred publications including Gothamist, Painted Bride Quarterly, and The Washington Post, and praised by luminaries including David Berman and Norman Mailer. His poetry collection Spokes of an Uneven Wheel was published by Main Street Rag Publishing Company in 2018. Colin also writes screenplays, has directed a short film, and built a twelve-foot-high pyramid out of PVC pipe, plywood and zip ties. One time, he rode his bicycle a hundred miles in a day. He lives in New York City, with his wife and daughter. You can find more of his work at thecolindodds.com.

Photo: Jamie Street

two poems – jessie janeshek

jessie janeshek

True Values

How to crack down      transgress empty space
………corn, so much storage or the flood plain
how to worship this quiet, this time.
………Something comes out of the comfort of trains
when you put all your poison into one place
……….and run to the river.

I wish it were colder                I wish musk hunker-downer
………for this tartan couch
red phone on the wall             transitional
……….for this special sequence.

Everyone says                she needs a retreat mostly just to touch
………mostly just to come in                 call it a den
so she fucks the taxidermist                    sterile as a dead dad
……………each extinct chicken                        stuffed, an achievement
when he gets tired enough                  he’ll rip his feeding tubes out
say this is my house                              but there’s a dumbwaiter
……………………….and my skin will hang off my skull.

Here’s where we put the eyes
………here’s where we put the cellophane    we make into the lake.
My sweater is jacquard        with your phone number
……….dive-bombing beetles            in the witch tense.
……………….The door is a guard
……….strappy shoes and someday        I’ll let the ghosts come to me
strappy shoes and someday             I’ll remember it gladly
……….no screens on the windows
and on the flood plain           how many trains
……….the language of flowers or the more profane language of stones.

 

Take Me Naked If It Makes Me Real Again

No frigate like a book unread and not the energy
…………..to open a bottle of pills. Everything’s triggering
lifting my hair for the vestige               of old-timey stardom
……………off with safety scissors            I chop my own bangs.

Heat makes waking hell and I dwell on eyesockets
………and every morning pay the pine trees.
……………………………….It all comes down to money and bloodstains.
A needle and a pearled shawl         took the children away.
……………….Drink the vodka. Fill the bottle with water.
.……We mythologize and he says the witch hunt
is most interesting          and the difference between
………us and the animals    is they can’t look for meaning.

………………………………..Little songs come fast and I find the letter
by not looking back     or it’s somewhere else
……….and it poisons my shade
……….or I empty out the pantry to rid myself of him
self-sabotage in heart-shaped sunglasses
……..or a more intimate god.

Take me naked. I just told the truth.
……….The brass heart in the bedroom turned my past over.
I got through bad moments                black bows
………changed my name.           I solved my own crime
with a made-up boyfriend        and a fake cock
………or I solved the crime            during my period
wearing your cast-offs
……………………….or I solved the crime as I heard a bell ring
……………………….and the truth is
……………………….your carnage            is general knowledge.

hourglass

Note: “No frigate like a book” is a phrase from poem #1286 by Emily Dickinson.

Jessie Janeshek’s third full-length book of poems MADCAP is forthcoming from Stalking Horse Press in 2019. Her first two books are The Shaky Phase (Stalking Horse Press, 2017) and Invisible Mink (Iris Press, 2010). Her chapbooks include Spanish Donkey/Pear of Anguish (Grey Book Press, 2016), Rah-Rah Nostalgia (dancing girl press, 2016), Supernoir (Grey Book Press, 2017), Auto-Harlow (Shirt Pocket Press, 2018), Hardscape (Reality Beach, forthcoming), and Channel U (Grey Book Press, forthcoming). Read more at jessiejaneshek.net.  

Photo: ål nik

over the flood – terence hannum

flood

Black water and a reaper over the flood. Emery’s drone glides above the shallow layer of floodwater, past the towering hulls of the collapsed harvesters rusting in the shallow mire and over the collapsed barns with their decrepit rusted silos. Flying over tens of thousands of acres of what would be soybean or durum along this new contaminated shallow. Over the submerged stele erected to mark the passing of generations. Flying adjacent to the electrical poles, whose bases gleam obsidian and silver in the encroaching formation of salt and bitumen.

Standing on the island she built, watching the machine vanish out over the brine in Emery’s daily routine of assessment she monitors the cracked LCD screen in her crusted white hands. On the screen the fields of black water over the hectares of fallow flooded fields, broken only by horizontal glitches, lead out to the lines of pipelines that carve the outer reaches of the ancestral land, where a crew of workers swarm over the busted lines. Bakken, Enbridge, Plains, all were lines she approved continuing her father’s initial infringement on the massive farm land.

She calls the drone back over the acres to her house, her father’s house, which sits marooned behind a sand bag fortification in the middle of a new noxious sea. The drone lands in the dry ditch between the rampart and her home. In the cracks of the sand bags the black salt water forms ashen crystals like hell shadow.

 

Resting the rusted barrel on the top of a sandbag, Emery places the scope of the rifle up to her eye and aims towards the declivity of the highway. A black Ford F350 rests by the side of the road, where men from VTB Bank tumble down from the highway with a johnboat.

The flat bottom aluminum craft glints in the grey sun as they paddle towards her, disturbing the coagulated surface of the black water. Guns aimed away, like a hunting party.

In her scope a bag of money sits on the transom.

A man waves. She doesn’t wave back.

A large drone flies overhead surveying the waste for one of the companies.

“Emery.” The man shouts as she crouches in the pit of the hardened bags, not hiding, aiming the Mossberg at them, “We have the payment.” He says holding up the bag.

She pushes a small black raft attached to a tether out towards the visitors. The man places the money bag on the raft, steadying it with his hands to keep it from capsizing. He goes to push it back to her.

“No,” she says, muffled in her strange voice, standing up, brushing off flakes. The man jumps back slightly in the boat while the other men behind him look away from her, their guns across their chests in the johnboat. She gently pulls the tether, encrusted with fine salt crystals, towards the sand bag fortification.

Watching the men leave in the wide bruise of the afternoon, the bag of cash feels like lead in Emery’s hand.

The darkness inside the home is further reflected on every surface. Emery steps over these growing formations, her reflection bouncing off of the flat facets. Towards the center of the home, yawning where the broken tiles give way through the floor, through the ground, is a pit. Deep inside the hole, encrusted with the sinister sheen of bromide deposits flecked with the fading white of salt octahedrons Emery lowers the bag on a long oil stained tether with her leprous hands. Letting the bag rest on top of another bag of money.

 

Standing outside the home before the crystal wall, Emery holds the remote for the harvesters that loom as gray shadows in the rising mist. With the remote she tries to restart them, they light up blue logos like halos in the fog, but the light sputters off. The useless behemoths fall deeper lowering their idle threshers further below the flood. She curses herself before her grandfather’s home, and his father’s home, she feels failure seep into her like poison.

Out in the fields there are no more pea shoots, no more red-rising wheat, just the harvest of black connate brine rising at its own pace clinging to electrical poles, harvesters, anything and building sinister lattices of calcium and lithium. The spillage will never stop, the wastewater from each pipeline surges and presses against the island she carved out of this dead black lake solidifying with glints of radium in the mineral crystals.

Another black drone glides overhead.

 

Up on the highway Greystone surveyors take test samples, their heads dotted bright red with construction helmets. Emery thinks back to her studies in Agricultural Science at North Dakota State, and how ill-prepared she was for these intrusions her father started with the first exploratory ventures to strike oil that failed but brought the companies to their door with their money to let their conduits cross the land. How, after her father’s funeral she saw the first discolored vegetation brown and dead. Greystone brought her a cistern, they always had a solution in the aftermath of destruction.

 

Back inside the home, she thinks of making a meal but stands before the corroded mirror by the door. The mirror is a marled silver that still displays the growing white lesions that contort her face. She runs her dry crusted palms over the hard growths and raised silver spikes that cover her face and encrust her hairline with white mutations. She does not cry at her own appearance. She can see its progress, enveloping her left eye in a dull prismatic vesicle that spawns new pieces across her spectral face.

She goes to her bed and lays amidst the salt powder and inching crystals on the sheets. She tries to sleep as the night crushes down around the house, envisioning a time when the tide will subside, absorbed into the ruined earth when she can dig her own grave next to those before her.

It is not a dream, because she does not sleep.

 

Later, Emery goes out in the darkness, no more teams haunt the dark highway, no drones streak the sky. There is just the lamentable silence of the black expanse, glinting soft green iridescence below the surface.

She watches over it all, a lonely watcher over the flood.

cropped-dead-bird-clip-art.jpg

Terence Hannum is a Baltimore, MD based artist, musician and writer. His novella Beneath the Remains was published by Anathemata Editions, his novella All Internal was published this year by Dynatox Ministries, and his novelette The Final Days will be published in 2019 by Unnerving. His short stories have appeared in Burrow Press, Terraform, Queen Mob’s Tea House, Lamplight, Turn to Ash, SickLit and the SciPhi Journal.  (www.terencehannum.com)

Photo: Danny G

glossolalia – cortney collins

glossolalia

This refuses to be written. It’s the pistachio
stuck in the shell
that won’t crack open.
I spread out my collages on the living room floor—
the ones made in secret, midnights, gluesticks and jazz—
chose the holiest one, with seahorses and clocks
and pieces of words from a language I didn’t realize
I was fluent in until you understood;
put it in your hands for you to take home
and prop up on your kitchen counter.
I annotate this poem with my incoherence,
and erase the footnotes.
I stole my collage back
while you were passed out on the couch
and locked it up with everything else,
the life-force bleached out. It was
a casket of bones lowered into the ground,
never looked at again.
A famous folks singer said in an interview that musicians
these days, they don’t know where the music
is coming from. I don’t know
where anything I speak these days is coming from.
Consonants spliced together form
burial mounds. Vowels, a train moving artifacts
along a distant track.
The impact of stone
on a taut surface of water shattered
the stone, not the water.
I am inchoate fissures now,
uttering fragments of
our native tongue.

cropped-dead-bird-clip-art.jpg

Cortney Collins is a poet living on the Eastern Plains of Colorado, in Eaton. She is equal parts metropolitan bustle and unincorporated railroad town, prairie and ocean, kale and Cheetos. She co-facilitates a weekly creative writing workshop for persons on probation in conjunction with SpeakOut!. This is her first published poem.

Photo: Patrick Tomasso

womb in purgatory – ingrid calderon

fullsizeoutput_1ff7 (1).jpeg

(a spin-off of Eggs in Purgatory)

Ingredients

1 tablespoon of extra-virgin sacrosanct
½ medium ego, chopped
1 cup of depression
1 clove of laughter, minced
¼ teaspoon of anger
1 teaspoon suicide
½ teaspoon freshly ground prayers
¼ cup fresh cemetery dirt, finely chopped
4 large wombs
¼ cup grated afterlife

Instructions

Drizzle sacrosanct into skillet set over medium heat.

Once it begins to shimmer, add in the ego and cook until tender, about 3 minutes.

Stir in the anger, minced laughter, and depression.

Sprinkle the teaspoon of suicidal ideation and allow the mixture to thicken, about 5 minutes.

Break a womb into a small bowl and using a large spoon, make an indention in the angry mixture. Repeat with the remaining wombs.

Top with grated afterlife and prayers.

Cover skillet and cook until the wombs set and are cooked to the desired level of doneness.

Remove skillet from the heat.

Sprinkle with remaining cemetery dirt and serve.

cropped-dead-bird-clip-art.jpg

Ingrid is a Salvadoran poet & refugee residing in Los Angeles. She’s published in OCCULUM, Electric Cereal, Dryland, Seafom Mag, Memoirmixtapes, Punch Drunk Press, Moonchild Magazine, Anti-Heroin Chic, Bad Pony Mag, L’Éphémère Review amongst others etc… Guilty of four full-length poetry books entitled ‘Things Outside’, ‘Wayward’ ‘Zenith’ & ‘Ablution.’ She invites you to stalk her on Twitter at @BrujaLamatepec and to read her rants at notesofadirtyyoungwoman.com

Photo: “Tidy notes led me astray”, also by Ingrid Calderon

three poems – john dorsey

wind

Where the Prom Queen Ends Up or Poem for Kristen

there is nobody waiting outside
the cowboy cafe & truck stop
to bring you flowers
or even offer you their coat
on a rainy afternoon
in lyman wyoming

most mornings you are
the first thing the sun sees
no matter when you punch in
& time stands still just long enough
for you to remember
how you ended up here

how this was just supposed to be a summer job
how calendars can bend the will of any ambition
how your thighs were once a temple of worship

stray dogs still sniff your ass
for that last scent of beauty
for that last slice of cherry pie
made holy by your touch

at least once a day
you are still
the most beautiful woman in the world
depending on who you ask

& if the wind kicks up just right
in any direction
you are still magic.

 

The Ballad of Pegleg & Double Stamp

as we drop him off at the greyhound
crazy mark says that the whole country is on fire

just outside the station
a legless vietnam vet asks a young girl
where she got her tattoos done

& i think maybe she’s a prostitute
or maybe she just looks like his daughter

or the high school sweetheart
he left on prom night
to wander into a jungle
of regret

that’s the thing about flames
you can move in any direction
& still end up
in places you never
intended to go.

 

Free as a Bird
for eric roetter

the image i have
in my heart
is you flying
through city streets
on your bicycle

before daylight
before heroin

the birdman of broad street

i’ll tell ya brother
you were already pure.

cropped-dead-bird-clip-art.jpg

John Dorsey lived for several years in Toledo, Ohio. He is the author of several collections of poetry, including Teaching the Dead to Sing: The Outlaw’s Prayer (Rose of Sharon Press, 2006), Sodomy is a City in New Jersey (American Mettle Books, 2010), Tombstone Factory, (Epic Rites Press, 2013), Appalachian Frankenstein (GTK Press, 2015) Being the Fire (Tangerine Press, 2016) and Shoot the Messenger (Red Flag Press, 2017). He is the former Poet Laureate of Belle, MO and Co-Editor, with Jason Ryberg, of the Gasconade Review. His work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. He may be reached at archerevans@yahoo.com.

Photo: Abigail Lynn

art – mikhail s.k.

Artist’s Statement:

e t h o s

As I grow older, I begin to understand that core mechanics of all things – from business, to politics, religion, even interpersonal relationships – all boil down to psychology, and the strange nature of the mind. Human consciousness is a bizarre and fascinating place. Fragile as it is, it can be a powerful force. It creates and imposes meaning from nothing but conjured-up thoughts, and distorts our perception of the world and ourselves. I believe, these ‘distortions’ produced by the mind are reflections of its own state – a subconscious cry. I redirect my own curiosity via something between glitch art, and surrealism, flirting with themes of the subconscious.

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cropped-dead-bird-clip-art.jpg

Mikhail SK is an industrial designer, who has been an illustration artist since childhood. His work often revolves around humanism, and expressed via psychological surrealism. Being a multi-media artist, Mikhail draws a lot of inspiration from the various methods and techniques of his craft, and then translates them into visceral experimentation in his art. As he delved into his studies in architecture and work as a carpenter, his way of thinking gradually shifted to a calculated, pragmatic, approach which although is design-oriented, still seeps into his art. www.msk.design