genesis – cassidy scanlon

genesis 2

he pressed seed to soil,
convinced that force could yield to growth.
the earth does not spit out
the beginning of your becoming.
for this, she is a true mother.
nurturing despite herself,
a sacrifice you are indebted to.

you know
the burden of a seedling
in tough soil. of plants
born in desert sand.

you know
what it’s like to grow
in a hostile womb,
suspicious of all things
padded for protection.

you are born
when the sun is at its height
cruel and unforgiving in exposure
of the elements.
your mother
tries to shade you,
casting shadows
you conjure when evoking
your father, an abandoned wind
lining the crowns of trees.
he speaks in metaphors
and you respond with poetry.
but language eludes you,
a longing lingers between
tongue and desire.

you search for roots
the potential of recognition
ravages
your family’s vines
concealing
the conception
of the first rejection.
the initial fortification
of want without resolve.

teetering on
a petrified foundation,
the past is porous
and swelling with decay.
but instead of dying takes
another form. molded
in stone, a fossil
imbued with traces
of recorded history.

hourglass

Cassidy Scanlon is a queer writer, Capricorn, and astrologer who received her BFA in Creative Writing from Chapman University. Her work has been featured in L’Éphémère Review, Loaf Mag, and WITCH. She writes about astrology on her blog Mercurial Musings and is a regular contributor to rose quartz magazine. You can follow her on Twitter @sassidysucklon. 

Photo: Brent Cox

acheron – robert boucheron

acheron.jpg

At five o’clock, Arthur Lothbury put on a gray felt fedora, inserted a fresh white handkerchief in the breast pocket of his jacket, and stepped out the front door for his daily stroll.

The town was a cluster of brick and frame dwellings of the 1800s. Located in a hollow, on a railroad line that was no longer active, it had three churches, a dozen shops, a post office, a school repurposed as a senior center, and a white-columned filling station with a porte cochère. At the center, where two main streets crossed, the town hall boasted a mansard roof and a clock tower. The tallest structure in town, with a face on all four sides, the clock tower rose above the trees like a sentinel.

Arthur kept the clock tower in view, though he was unlikely to get lost in the town where he was born. He generally walked for exercise, but this afternoon he dawdled. His gaze wandered left and right. It was early spring, still bleak but mild. Buds swelled on the trees. Cold weather had delayed them. Slanting rays of the sun lit the quiet streets. No one else was about, which was odd for the end of a weekday.

He stopped to examine a flowering shrub that overhung a picket fence, as though eager to escape. The yard was unkempt, in a town that was proud of its gardens. How could such a thing happen? Who lived in this house? He knew many neighbors, but not all. In retirement, he was losing track of changes in the population.

This house must have a tenant, someone who did not care for the place. A deflated ball and a broken toy lay on the weedy lawn. Rolled newspapers littered the porch, dusty and yellowed. Maybe no one lived here.

Arthur moved on. It was an effort to put one foot in front of the other. Yet the day had passed in idleness—light housekeeping, some reading, an hour at his desk paying bills, a letter to a relative. What had he done to be worn out?

A single man with many friends and few responsibilities, he ought to enjoy this stage of life, an endless stretch of leisure. But contentment was elusive. He urged himself to walk faster. Chin up and eyes peeled! At any moment, a friend or stranger was likely to cross his path. He would need to say something cheerful, a word of greeting. But the town was deserted, as if Arthur had missed an order to evacuate. He looked straight ahead and spurred his flank. But his feet dragged.

Coming to an alley, he stopped to peer down its length. He seldom walked in this part of town. He knew it like the back of his hand but not this alley. It bordered the railroad track—that was the trouble. The sun trembled on the horizon. The alley was already in shade. Lined by sheds and fences, it promised things of interest—an old wagon, a gnarled tree, a forgotten bicycle like a sketch of lines and circles.

Arthur strolled down the middle, over gravel and grass. The alley was long—he could not see the end—and growing dark. He tried not to scuff his shoes. He hoped he would not step in a puddle. Not a living creature met his eye, not so much as a sparrow. Then a small shape shifted. A cat crouched a few feet ahead.

Cats lurked all over town. Some allowed him to pet them, some rolled at his feet, and some fled. This one stared coldly. Whoever said that cats were curious? Another step, and the cat disappeared, perhaps through a hole in a fence.

Dusk came on. Was it so late? Arthur looked around and did not see the clock tower. How long had he been walking? He had left his watch at home. Was this a blind alley? To turn around would be an admission of defeat. Despite fatigue, he pressed on.

The alley ended at last in a building with a passage through its ground floor. It was now night. At the far end of the unlit passage was a gate, with open space visible through the bars. Should he enter? What if the gate was locked? He was too tired to retrace his steps. Go forward and hope for the best.

The passage was empty. Beyond the gate was a street. He grasped the gate and pulled. In the hollow space of the vaulted passage, the rusty hinges groaned. Arthur flinched at what sounded like a voice, the drawn-out syllable “woe.” Arthur stepped through the arch, and the gate clicked shut. On impulse, he tried it. Locked.

The street was built up on one side. The other was open to the railroad. Arthur had not been here for years. Shops were closed or boarded up. The pavement was cracked and littered. He wanted to sit, but where? A short distance away stood the old train station, abandoned. A light burned inside, the only light in this gloomy wasteland. He trudged toward it.

A low rumble made itself known. The earth shook. The rumble grew and grew to a roar, until it was unmistakable. A train! Arthur reached the platform as the train arrived. In a stupor of exhaustion, he watched it slow. It looked like an excursion train from the century before, an antique restored to service for a single run. It screeched to a stop, a door opened, and a stair dropped at his feet. Where was the conductor? The side of the coach bore a name: “Acheron.”

Was that the destination? Arthur grasped the metal railing and climbed aboard.

hourglass

Robert Boucheron grew up in Syracuse and Schenectady, New York. He worked as an architect in New York and Charlottesville, Virginia, where he has lived since 1987. His short stories and essays appear in Bellingham Review, Fiction International, London Journal of Fiction, Porridge Magazine, Saturday Evening Post, and other magazines.

Photo: Adam Bixby

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.

 

where the color gets out – ghost #4

where the color

That person is a tight furrowing.
We are doctors of light, cauterizing
the wounds where the color gets out.
There are people who want to eat
your color. My last partner said,
half-eaten is eaten, & she was disbarred.

Having your color eaten by night wolves
is a subsequent inevitability: a sentient
outpouring of colorlessness. Everything wants
to eat. It’s gone before I look around.

cropped-ghost-january.jpg

Photo: Nick Sarro

south broadway ghost society – raising funds for first print journal

00 ghosts

Friends,

I am starting a gofundme to raise money for the first ever print journal to be distributed by the literary and arts collective I run, South Broadway Ghost Society, and I am asking your help by pledging anything you can to help, big or small.

In the last four months since inception, South Broadway Ghost Society has grown immensely. We’ve already featured hundreds of writers, poets, artists and photographers, many of which right of of Denver, on our online journal, our curated Instagram and on social media at large. We’ve hosted four very eclectic events thus far: a reading at Mutiny Information Cafe, an open mic for letters at the Corner Beet, an intimate poetry/music mashup at Green Lady Gardens and most recently, an art gallery/live music/poetry event out of Thought/Forms Gallery near the Arts District on Santa Fe.

Ghost Society has 100% of my heart in it. I’ve made a commitment to myself to dedicate at least ten years to this project, wherein I intend to continue hosting events and I am very excited to announce, start an annual print journal which I aim to have distributed as largely as possible. Outside of obvious avenues of distribution like local and chain bookstores, I also want to get the journal into metaphysical stores and would love to have tables at events such as the Denver Zine Fest, DiNK and the Curiosities & Oddities Expo. The magazine will be fully illustrated with art and photography featured against works of writing from every genre; poetry, non-fiction, essays, fiction, recipes, spells, whatever finds its way to us.

I am asking for your help to make that happen. Our goal of $999 would make it possible to have the foundation to build up from there, to pay artists who are accepted into the print journal and get going on distribution this October. Thank you for considering investing in this project which means the world to me.

Even if you can’t donate, you can help a lot just by sharing the gofundme page. You can find that page HERE.

Much Love,

Brice Maiurro
Founder/Editor-In-Chief, South Broadway Ghost Society

*Anyone who contributes $50 or more will receive a numbered first printing copy of the journal when it is available in October of 2019 mailed to you, or available for pickup at any of our events. Please include your address in the comments or email your physical address with the subject “Print Journal 50” to soboghosts@gmail.com.

Thank you.

two poems – D.o.t.B.

guillotine

Guillotine

Revolution cut so bloody
chopping heads eyes wide
make that bourgeois die
what beauty to hear children cry
this rage broke your calm lie
you stabbed your neighbor in the eye
kill or be killed
church bell screaming
our holy great blade watches
forevermore

 

Hunger

Teeth gnashing spit splashing
desperation crashing
breaking brittle bones
sucking on stones.

they work hard to remove
the Great Feast from their minds
leave that horror story behind
but it happens again the same time
next year.

The ground too cold frozen
more solid than a shovel
no food left in the hubble
stomach screams no more grumble.

They eye the outsiders
light bright their fires
slash their tires
and make dinner.
try and pray away their inner sinner
the meat is good
the wine salt speckled
no evidence to hide
when it’s wrapped along your inside.

Next year there are no new neighbors
no one on the outside…
so they find babies flesh
tears tastes
softest and sweetest.

SBGS December

D.o.t.B. is a Godde that currently lives in the body of K.V. Dionne. Boulder artist, poet, and photographer, they are one of the founders behind Writer’s Block and are current editor in chief of Writer’s Block zines. You can read some of their work in Spit Poet and can look forward to a collaborative poetry book coming out soon. They have many Hawk friends and Crow songs to share! 

healing projected – ghost #11

mirror 11

Famous romance novelist Nicholas Sparks once wrote,
“The emotion that can break your heart
is sometimes the very one that heals it…”

As cliche as it sounds,

I no longer believe that falling in love is going to save us,
not from ourselves and not from the inevitable storm ahead.
The clouds have been gathering over head for months now,
I chose to act like the sun was always coming back out,

The very idea that the love we share is both destroying me
and keeping me alive is hedonistic at best.
I’m no weather man but it seems to be raining red flags now,

we’ve been dancing in the streets begging for more

I gain unconscious pleasure from the pain of losing you
over and over again to the flood,
being wounded has it’s perks, after all,
I looked much the same when you found me right?

We’re just a shitty love story turned scratched vinyl record,
we can’t stop pulling the plastic back beneath our fingers

to replay the ending,

supposedly well written fantasy either
ends in happily ever after or tragedy,
and this looks more like self fulfilling prophecy.

They never mentioned fairy tales going awry at the
drop of a dime and the distressed left in the dark forest
waiting for the half slain monster,
I…I mean the prince…to swallow her whole.

I’m not convinced this model of love is worth the river running
out from under my bedroom door, worth continuing to write about,
not convinced that there will ever be an emotional payout for chasing someone who makes their living on running away.

The emotion that was made to break my heart is
the inner conflict of selfish and selfless spinning
a whirlpool depression in my chest because no one
will never be able to love you well enough to
save you from your homegrown impending doom complex.

Lead me to where this tornado begins to heal me…

It is difficult to wield my impatience silently,
analyzing the way my body detoxes you out of me
pores and ducts compiling the poisons you left
for examination,
minerals inside to extract so that
I may not forget

mental stamina halted by the crucial processing
healing is cyclical and having anxiety can alter
it’s trajectory a little but this self served circle will be completed

disguising survival as self love for the sake of saving face
while i take a second tour of the stages of grief in no
particular order, reliving my traumas like movie trailers
saved them for a dreary day such as this,

seek therapy as if I still believe someone out there has
the answers, get wasted once in a while and remember
why hopelessness is dangerous,

Can only see it when I’m bruised and
buried under it.

I find myself inspired by my loneliness,
supported only by my poetry,

ugly crying when I wake up in the same bad dream
can’t let the paranoias get the best of me, I am
letting go of what used to be
in one massive energetic release,

my aching body hoarding feelings
because that is how it is used to gaining control,

not this time, I am obsessing over my delusions
trying desperately to make them real, not this time

Naivety can in fact be cured but
using another human to witness your own healing
is a manipulation with no antidote hiding inside,
the results come out incoherent anyway

You have been alive 99 days longer than I have
With that extra time I expect you to be 99 days wiser
than I am, expect you to value your time a little more

But we all work at our own pace
and I’ve seen you pace a lot of circles into the floor
there are probably more in your future

I hope they look so much like break dancing
you throw windmills to settle the score with yourself
hope you find your answers in the flow

and start asking harder questions

The things you love the most in
the world can still be hard work,
in fact maybe they should be

Someday we will both get better at
paving our own way so that the labor
feels more like playing with your best friend

Until then we keep pulling each other’s hair out
strand by strand and catching fingers in every slammed door
this love is not the safety net that we planned for

I lose my balance every other step now

We have been crawling in and out of each other for
250 days without truly ceasing, what a polluted
cesspool of love we created to keep feeding each other our lies.

Are you still hungry? I could have just one more bite.
Spoon feed me all the reasons the wounds are still open.
Give it to me straight, what is the diagnosis?

Will the PTSD control the remainder of me
that you have not claimed as marionette parts?

We have not been on the same page since you
started skipping ahead to see whats next,
and ripping out chapters at random.

What would a romance novelist do to
heal them self from the inevitable?

Are we really just waiting around
for the dawn of the next cycle,
the point where the familiar emotion
fills us up with enough smoke and
to send out another beacon of hope?

SBGS December

photo: Noah Buscher

the postcard – the ghost of esperanza

IMG_1464

I bought this postcard that reminds me of us.”
A Franz Kline, black against white
Lines spread across the canvass
Chaotic and untamed like me.
A “V” stands firm off-center.
It’s right held up by another reclining line
The black mess underneath make those two lines
look like an “A” and an upside down heart.

I miss the first night I heard your voice.

Once, we talked on the patio of a bar until 6AM
about love, Nixon, and family.
We sat between the picnic tables on astro turf
and my ass went numb.
A little after,
I got you to show me your tattoo
despite all resignation.

We drank and drank until two packs of cigarettes were gone.

I could live in that night.

I could live in you asking me to only speak Spanish to you.

I am drunk in lust for moments well past their expiration date.

If you look at the postcard closer,
the upside down heart looks like a man on his knees
reclined against a wall.
Faceless–
black strokes
blending him into the background.

I melted under the weight of past memories.

All the bad came flooding in after I found a swastika in the elevator of our office.
I was alone and I was scared.
I choked on tears for hours unable to breathe.
Finally, I called you.
You asked all the wrong questions until you asked me what I needed.
I muttered my need.
You couldn’t hear me and asked again.
I said “sorry” and hung up.
I turned off my phone.

I don’t know how to trust.

Despite two months of closeness,
I couldn’t tell you that one time a rich man stole from me.
He wined and dined me
and I liked that he spent more money on me than what I paid in rent my Senior year of college.
I liked it until I woke up naked and bruised
all over with no memories after only 3 drinks.
I couldn’t tell you that this is what I think of with our President-elect.
I didn’t want the story to pour out of me that day.
I was scared if I’d have to hate you
if you ended up being someone who would say something stupid
like having “to know better.”

The woman on the train
said the postcard looks like structure.
She said it was beautiful
Like the black strokes beneath the “V”
were pieces to rebuild with.
She had a warm smile and kind eyes.

We hugged after Vegas.
I drove to San Diego
You called and called me with every mishap before you could get to Los Angeles
The thick of your voice kept me up on the lonesome road as I tried to forget foolish things
Like making you pinkie promise to lean on me the first night we met.
To never work against each other.
You told me to not doubt myself.
We planned to see New Orleans

This postcard reminds me of us.

In Los Angeles, when I called myself a Chicago 9 and a California 7
You corrected me and told me not to be so hard on myself
You ranked me a 9 in California.

We missed being able to smoke inside like we did in Las Vegas.

I asked you if I could stay the night
We played chess and drank whiskey

Infatuation and lust resurface.

The black lines at the top of the postcard show more focus.
The strokes uneven in pressure
Yet firm in direction.

This postcard reminds me of you.

You would not let it happen.
My lips on your shoulder and my fingers entwined in your chest hair
You said “We shouldn’t do it.”
I pressed my lips to your neck and asked, “Why?”

There was no caution there.
You did not waver.

The black strokes at the bottom of the postcard jut out in every direction.
The strokes are aimless and collide into each other
Some stop mid-thought

This postcard reminds me of me.

We slept.
I could not breathe with your hands on me.
I turned away from you.

The white of the upside down heart covers some black.
It tries to cover up mistakes.
The white looks grayer on the right hand side.

This postcard is me.

We didn’t talk about what happened.
I puked two times and you told me I could find grape juice in the fridge.

We never talk about what happens.

We rode to IHOP and every bump made me more nauseous.

The firm strokes at the top are focused,
but not anymore kempt than the rest
They miss filling in spots
They change direction back before they can reach the end of the canvass.

This postcard is you

I can’t remember what we talked about in IHOP
I remember puking a third time and finally feeling like I could eat.
You said I was smiling again so it must have been a good sign.

Outside you told me the lipstick from last night was cracked into my lips and looked terrible.

The white of the canvass isn’t pristine
Shades of gray compliment the strokes
It takes up more space without imposing
The color is dull without the strokes taking up space.

You asked what you could do to be better.

I don’t have an answer for our friendship.

The postcard is brush strokes and pressure
It is hesitation and redirection.
It is structure
And it is impetuous.

I have this postcard for you.

I bought the same one for me.

-The Ghost of Esperanza

SBGS December

Photo: @maiurro

three poems – sam pink

3

MY CARTOON

Turning a crank

on the side of my head

& shooting diamonds

out of my eyes

into your face

where they explode

with little dinging sounds.

You’re in my cartoon now

honey.

 

 

JUST NO

Sometimes

when I try to understand

where someone is coming from

it feels like

doing a math problem

& coming up with an answer

that’s just

the word ‘no.’

 

 

TOO BEAUTIFUL

I wonder

how soon

is too soon

to go downstairs

& ask my neighbor

to take down her windchimes

because the songs they make

are just

too beautiful

 

SBGS December

Sam Pink is the author of books. He’s a painter too. Twitter @sampinkisalive.  Instagram @sam_pink_art

Photography: @florviadana