made of honor – december lace

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Putting together parched yellow streamers
on a souring, rain-swollen wall has left me desolate
this Sunday, love. The wedding bell decorations sprouting
up under volcanic eyes while manicured talons toast
my efforts make the small hairs on my neck rise
and my shelled ankles are about to take flight into
the drizzling afternoon. The bride-to-be, displeased
with the weather stomps on the conversation and
swallows wrapping paper and compliments with a
spoiled mouth and a flaming jaw. Woe, to our severed
friendship. Woe, to my barbed wire stomach, my
strangled lungs, my battered heart, my kidnapped spleen.
She has won my anxiety and conquered my loyalty,
draining my good intentions like a one-sided blood
transfusion. I am still hooked up to the pumps and leaking
essence into the floor while champagne dribbles at her lip.


December 45

December Lace is a former professional wrestler and pinup model from Chicago. She has appeared in the Chicago Tribune, The Molotov Cocktail, Pussy Magic Lit, The Cabinet of Heed, Awkward Mermaid, Vamp Cat, and Rhythm & Bones YANYR Anthology, among others. She loves Batman, burlesque, cats, and horror movies.

 

endling – n.v. lott

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To have a body means you have raised a body. Maybe it was your own that was raised for the last time, here, in one of many places emotion had you. This is how we often receive our own vessels. If you haven’t, you’ve probably done one of many things: wished to and touched it for yourself, held the great flanks of skin like a precious enemy;  some animals talk to the moon until they get what they question. Years ago, walking with my mother on a night of a full one, she asked me what I knew about werewolves and I cursed out loud for the first time, right in front of her. I knew much about change, hardly about monsters. They were kept at bay by her own strong hands. She asked me about what kind of man-wolf I would want to become, and I said damn or shit or hellfire until my tongue greeted her with endling, also terminarch. I wanted to be the last one, no more bad than the moons that plagued us. I would only want to be a whisper to the wind instead of great big bad hands, and when the day came that I fit into my father’s old shoes, she took my small body in her wide palms and rocked me with cautious prayer.


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N.V. Lott is a poet from the South. He writes about how much he hates summers there. 

Top Photo: Nathan Dumlao

two poems – grace mitchell

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views from the passenger seat

I have never felt more safe
than the time you drove me home,
and then you drove me home,
and then you drove me home—
always you are driving me home
in an infinite loop
(in one version we stop to investigate
the metal chest left on the side of the highway,
but a new version of the story begins before
we get to see what’s inside—
In another version you pull over
and leave me there on the side of the highway—
another version of you picks me up;
all is forgiven, and this is how the story restarts;
another version of you becomes the ghost
you have sometimes made yourself to be)
as I frantically rewrite our shared history,
as I grab your cigarettes from the glove box,
and try to ignore the gun.
In every version of this story
I am trying to ignore the gun,

which is to say You are tracing the outline of a State we both lived in on my heart, which is to say I am drunk enough to ask you to hold me and I mean really hold me please none of that “Christian side hug” bullshit, which is to say I am drunk enough that you are driving me home.

There is still not a version of this story
in which I don’t want you
driving me home.

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WWJDD

I know you are not one for Jesus
so I pose the question instead:
what would John Darnielle do
if he knew you were a rapist?
If you shook hands with your hero
said, “I love the Mountain Goats,
and also I keep going when women
tell me no,”
said, “I love your work,
especially the way associating with it
makes women think I am safe.”
How the hell do you separate the work
from the behavior of fans?
And how the hell do I keep listening
to the Mountain Goats
when you’re the one who got me into them?


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Grace Mitchell is a poet residing in Denver, CO, although she has called many places home. She has edited for both Negative Capability Press and the Oracle Fine Arts Review. When not writing, she can be found riding her bike, working the clerk desk at the local library, and hanging out with nuns.

Top Photo: Etienne Pauthenet

for jay who didn’t get cable television until he was thirteen and also thinks i’m petty – jane-rebecca cannarella

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For Jay who didn’t get cable television until he was thirteen and also thinks I’m petty: And how I made fun of how he first experienced the joy that comes with cable like placing snow melt between tart teeth and getting the phantom taste of salt from the sky–or from some truck, more likely–but it’s cool because it’s good anyway. It’s the propulsion of quickly falling ice crystals and thunder from the sky that now lives inside him.

Anyone can be part of the earth’s outer atmosphere, and this is the closest to becoming a cosmic being that Jay’s ever been. And he and I are acting like those two stars in our galaxy who have begun behaving strangely: a cool giant and a relatively hot white dwarf—a stellar corpse. Outbursts of energy like when he couldn’t stay seated and was asked to sit in the corner during middle school because he was being disruptive. Now we’re both warm movement and icy at the same time and are filled with the need to rattle the desktop as the universe cycles through us. And with images being spoon-fed through eyeballs for so many years, it’s like he’s growing and cooling at the same time. Maybe I am, too.

There is the terror of so many choices, like the fear of being in the middle of the crosswalk when an ambulance is coming, silenced and stricken, and how do you run to safety when your feet are stuck to the black top? With every fuzzy sound augmented and amplified, as animated figures grow and lean—continually expanding, cable television is communicating with the divided sky and directly into every and any TV watcher, but him especially.

Jay could and can sit and watch the bleary movements and he knew, and knows, that the universe keeps growing; and when he was just thirteen he had eaten Christmas-in-July-snowflakes: the light changing across wavelengths, both astronaut and astronomer and he got cable and because of that parts of him lives in solar systems light-years away waiting to fall back to earth.


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Jane-Rebecca Cannarella is a writer and editor living in Philadelphia. She edits HOOT Review and Meow Meow Pow Pow Lit. Most recently she is the author of the flash fiction collection Better Bones and the poetry chapbook Marrow, through Thirty West Publishing, 2019. She is haunted by ghosts, all of which she believes are barnacled ships. 

Top Photo: Sven Scheuermeier

an intruder in your house (hollywood) – david welper

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Filling the glass with milk or
homes with Hollywood furniture.

Greed they say. The piggy bank
run amuck, the loud chair laced
for director.

Humility locates its contour map
of frilly things. This, the next big thing
in show business
because walls become predictable and
daydreams frame digression
with a flexibility of their own.

A briefcase breaks at the corner,
a ballerina’s pillow spreads out
in motion pictures.

Celebrity has a collapsing act.
What she does is her business.


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David Welper is a Pushcart nominated poet, has been a featured reader across the US, has been published in a number of zines and has been active in literary communities.  He is the founder of Buddy Lit Zine.  He is a Psychiatric Nurse in Denver.

Top Photo: Krzysztof Kowalik

in the key of lazarus – paulie lipman

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Hearts fly over my head
Hearts flying over my head
This will be what replaces brain cells
These will supplant canonized rebels

Thumbs in my eyes
Thumbs thrust into my eyes
This will be what replaces good tidings
These will be what replaces the tithing

God is gone
and so the tabernacle
Upended altars
False idols
Pictographical angels

Love is Like is Repetition
Love is like, is like Love is gone
Like gone repeated, Love dragging on
Then gone, like Love is attrition

Gone is God
and us all their children
We all our own altars
Our skin carved and clawed
We are our own sin


FB_IMG_1571175922874paulie lipman is a jewish queer poet, performer, and novelist out of Denver, CO by way of too many damn places. a two time national poetry slam finalist, their work has appeared in The Emerson Review, voicemail poems, ellipsis, Prisma: Zeitblatt Fur Text & Sprache (Germany), and Protimluv (Czech Republic). they are the author of two poetry collections “from below/denied the light” and the upcoming “sad bastard soundtrack: songs of faith and distortion” (Swimming With Elephants Publications).

Church Photo: Harry Miller

bechdel test – kim vodicka

marilyn

B e c h d e l T e s t

Why does it matter who holds the mirror,
if what you see is truth?

What happens when you police your pants?

Like famous mass murderesses,
we’re intense pieces of ass,
in Sodomy and Gonorrhea.

We’ll be the sluts of your life,
if only you promise
to read our cunts for filth
and blow loads in our dishonor.

Raise your hand if you secretly admire us,
if your giver-upper is a keeper.

If you believe in nothing
and see everything.

If you’re prepared
to sop up the fuss
with that hole in your belly.

Your famous blue jacket doesn’t bother with promises,
doesn’t touch us at all,
doesn’t touch us all night,
doesn’t even condescend to give us its handkerchief
when we cry.

Why don’t you ever tell us you love us
when we cry?

Why, when we could cry
for the entire world,
do we cry
for you?

At the moment of twinkling.

Wistful thinking.

When us bitches cry for the world,
we cry
for you.

And your small mind.

We bet your mother
didn’t even have an orgasm
when you were conceived.

But we bet she cried.

It’s so easy to be a groupie in this town,
so hard to be a wife.

That’s why you’ll never see our meat dancing.

Only the zombies receive it.

You may bring a goddess to her knees.

If you’re prepared
to be bitch-slapped
by her vestigial wings.

We’re not dancing.

We’re just rubbing out the kinks.

Don’t bother us.

The surest way to the rib of our hearts
is by not bothering us.

Would it be possible for someone who ate hearts,
like Jeffrey Dahmer,
to practice the art of radical self-love?

We bet he kissed his mother with that mouth.

The surest way to the rib of our hearts
is by eating our hearts
and then kissing us.

We were seeing it through our eyes,
and we were seeing it through our eyes,
but all that matters are The One’s eyes.

Because The One creates Kodak moments.

Because rarely do us bitches make his story.

It’s so hard to be easy in this town,
even harder to be a wife,
even if you don’t want to be.
.

We’ve been tired queens.

We’ve been desperate groupies.

But if we don’t live,
you pay nothing.

And we want you to pay.

From the Chateau Marmont to the Romantic Inn,
we have tried,
in our way,
to be fabulous.

We have tried,
in our way,
to transcend.

Every load blown in our dishonor
is revelation.

But one way or another,
the ground will force us to relate to it.

We tried to prove
we weren’t intimidated
by Charlie Manson,
but then he bit us,
and we became him.

Time to step back into our queen shoes,
until we allow the next The One
to knock them up again.

Until we allow each other
to peasant each other’s eyes out
over The One,
yet again.

This man is your man.

This man is my man.

This man was made for you.

But, like, mostly just me.


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Kim Vodicka is the spokesbitch of a degeneration and heart-reactionary at the rearguard of the rose arts. She is the author of three full-length poetry collections— Aesthesia Balderdash (Trembling Pillow Press, 2012), Psychic Privates (White Stag Publishing, 2018), and The Elvis Machine (CLASH Books, 2020). She is also the creator of a poetic comic book series, a chapbook of sound poems on vinyl, and an illustrated book of poetry. Her poems, art, and essays have been featured in Tenderloin, Spork, Queen Mob’s Teahouse, Makeout Creek, Luna Luna Magazine, Paper Darts, Best American Experimental Writing, Nasty! and many others. For the past decade, she has toured the country performing spoken word with musical accompaniment in bookstores, dive bars, art galleries, cafes, diners, festivals, pinup clubs, vintage clothing shops, rooftops, backyards, and places of worship. Originally from south Louisiana, she currently lives in Memphis, Tennessee with her beloved cat, Lula. Cruise her at kimvodicka.com.

appendix – pablo damián

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Appendix

We forgot to turn off the gas in the kitchen again,

and I’m not sure if what I saw was a ghost

or a spiritual residue of our old cleaning lady.

Back then, my days were like stretch marks on the skin of time,

I spent most afternoons thinking about a litany

for dust and glass and light,

or about how water is the opposite of blackmail

but ultimately failing at a single original thought.

From behind the drapes, the hollow voice spoke up:

“All microwaves have some kind of terrible hex on them”

I just nodded.

It’s uncourteous to speak with your mouth full.

SBGS December


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Pablo Damián is a poet and translator currently living in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Art: Brendon Thompson

you wish to speak – megan heise

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you wish to speak.

once
during
yr reading
in Arizona
u said u hadn’t ever met
another asexual person and shay said their
partner was ace and asked u to
sign yr chap w a
kiss write i’m
here i’m
queer

M didn’t speak for 4 months all the words tumbled out stone.

You dont speak now. You write to your spirits. Say hi wanna join me at work then forget. In Dani’s class you drew the bridge to nowhere. Said to the class I’m moving back home. He met you at the underpass many weeks later. Continues to meet you there. Connecting spirits to one another. Her name appearing in a computer glitch. His blood staining the highway. You dream of avoiding her and all your unresolved guilt. Codependents think they are responsible for other ppl’s emotions she tells you. You are codependent you say. Except you know you really are responsible for other ppl’s emotions. You made your mother’s depression worse. And now you are twisting the knife into grief wounds. Reaching out again after so many years to say sorry. After not even sending in your rsvp for their wedding. He says no hard feelings but she disagrees.

2 out of 6 shelves are clean which is to say you have cleaned off 2 out of the 6 shelves you are endeavoring to clean off which is to say you are attempting to acknowledge your agency which is to say you want to SPEAK in the ACTive voice which is to say you wish to say that which you’ve been trying to say which is to say you will say that which you’ve been trying to say which is to say you are.

the fears are twofold one is that yes he really was a dick and to like him is to be a dick yourself and that so many pretentious dicks like him so does that make you a dick too and the other is the fear of running out that you’ll want more but there will be no more left to consume to receive

he was one of your ghosts too you realize, writing him letters and never asking for a response, never conceiving of the possibility of there being a response. it’s good we never met in life, you used to say. what if i disappointed him. if he disappointed me.

it is hard to set boundaries. with the living. with your living. friends. your spirits. are so much easier. to talk to.

names come to you before you know what they mean you set out to write about queerness and write about ghosts instead you mistype queerness such that autocorrect suggests wildness next to wilderness your ghosts haunt the nighttime forest your dark there with you they love etel adnan too they whisper her messages from you saying thank you keep it up keep asking and of course please

Ahhjjh it has been raining so much and almost always while you’re in your room with the window open your room is off the porch and even your friends who have Major Accomplishments and Better Lives cant say that cant say their room is off the porch whereupon the swing whapped you in the head as a kid when you couldn’t stop crying and had to go to the hospital and for all of your achievements maybe it’s of this one you’re most proud the time you shoved the swing and it swung right back and sent you down to the concrete and fuck if you know what you learned that day but damn did you fall hard

What if u wanna come when u r back from my friends
What if u wanna come it starts at the end of the discussion
What if u want a ride home
What if u want to put them in the same place on my bicep
What if u wanna check in after yr done
What if I can get there btwn herb and space
What if u wanna join me at work then forget to see you and finally give you your bracelets
What if I can get there as a kid is doing lunch with a lot more options
What if we brought our own food and coffee plus obvi karaoke
What if I am outside the first year or not sure when I’ll be headed back
What if I can get there as soon as I will likely be available
What if we can afford it and it’s all just adding it’s been growing wild and then never been growing out of nowhere
What if the same place on earth is that you know what you think
What if the first time last year or so haha I am outside yr apt b4 the boys
What if anyone gets in the evening of course please let me borrow your spirits
What if anyone wants to join at some point in a bit of us maybe it’s a sign
What if u wanna come it starts at the end of the discussion to kickstart conversation with the living in a bit of a snake in this style that looms and then never heard back from my friends yet about rescheduling but I would definitely be down to do what you think and thank you SO MUCH for all of your achievement in the evening of course please include all of this time in your final price for me to come the first time in almost all of the big screen and just left it there to do its work and i are super tight now and laura is a lutherie of the hand tattoo and getting im in town and just wanted to check in w max and toni the first time in almost all of the big screen and just left it there to do its work and i are super tight now and laura is a lutherie of the hand tattoo and getting im in town and just wanted to check in w max and toni the first time in almost all of the big screen and just left it there to do its work and i are super tight now and laura is a lutherie of the hand tattoo and
What if we could be able to swoop the same way
What if anyone who can’t come home would be able to
What if u have my own experience
What if I can get there first

SBGS December


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Megan Heise is a writer and teacher based in Western Pennsylvania. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing and Poetics from Naropa University and is currently working towards her PhD in Composition and Applied Linguistics at Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Her creative work has appeared in a number of online and print journals, and she is the author of the chapbook Quasar #6 (Eggtooth Editions). Her website is www.meganheise.com.

Art: Nhia Moua

three poems – jessica rigney

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All These Open Fields

He sits legs under

a curl of the known

up against

the unknown.

She is wandering

away again

as she speaks

as she finds

the strand

which allows itself

to tangle between

his toes. And he is

bouncing his foot

to her story because

he imagines her

in the story

as she tells it

tries to come

to terms. What

terms he does not

know. And she can tell

it makes him

uncomfortable—

all these open fields

where she is running

but still. She flexes

her wings as though

they had been folded

too long in the cold.

But now that the heat

is upon them both his leg

moves rapidly and her

shoulder blades hold

the beat and she is still

speaking and he refuses

to speak. And the unknown

sits up between them and

relaxes itself as a lazy cat

would across a table

in the heat of the sun

middle of winter when

there is no chance

of kicking him off

simply to set down

a fresh cup of coffee

put your feet up and

enjoy a goddamn

cigarette.

SBGS December

Fall Through

If you were to let your eyes fall

upon black panes of a night window—

to stay—resting there where air swells

soundless. You would be lost.

.

And so she turns from the window

makes her face open to me now—

Says—I no longer hope for this ache

to end.

I turned my body to him

without expectation. Spoke as though

I’d come from the woods—

A single afternoon.

Long between the banks of a river

whose name I’ve never known.

He rose to greet me without rush—no never

a rush in the world for his breath at my neck.

Solid hands each side of my face. She says.

She tells me about the day she lay her body

across his lap and let herself be held close.

Close-pulled-in by a mouth by arms a body

to bring her into herself.

She looks up to my eyes resting openly

upon her mouth mouthing the words—

I have no idea how to have mercy for my own life.

.

How the fathomless black

remains flat against the glass

is of no consequence

save for our wonder of it.

I gave myself—inexplicably to him.

That winter and all those to follow never mind the risk.

Though I would not set fire to the home I’d built

no matter the torments. Would you? She asks.

Her sweetly softened eyes widen as the deer’s.

Head lifted ears cocked in observance.

A gentle shift of hooves in the undergrowth.

The decades have made her careful—

clever—so very beautiful.

If you were handed your life

loosed of its bridle suddenly

and without remorse?

.

How long before you could.

Name it.

SBGS December

Green Leaves Dropped

Out the window from a small
Room where we are all breathing

Willows sway but do not want
More than a willingness to sway.

In the space of a gathered wish we are
All wishing not to suffer. Yet if we knew

What it would mean to move through
We would. We would ask for a firefly’s

Last light. We would ask the growing world
To make its chance for meaning. We would ask

For agony. We would ask for endurance.
You walk the street of your childhood

And say the trees have not greened
As they should. And those that did dropped

Their leaves ‘neath an early frost and did not
Have a chance. And is this what we have now

To look forward to? Is this what is meant
You ask, by changing weather?

There is a world we do not know yet.
There is a world without and we have not

Yet known it. There is a world with everything
And that too we have not known.


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Jessica Rigney is a poet, artist, and filmmaker. She is twice a a quarter-finalist for the Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry (2016 & 18.) Find her letterpress broadsides at Wolverine Farm Publishing. Consume more of her work at Salomé and Cider Press Review. She is poetjess on Instagram.