miscarriage in train car #4 – lauren napier

letoh

The salt of embryo and ocean
The grounding of the shoreline and rubber tread
Here is where true nature is seen
Here is where fleshly goodbyes are said

Parallel lines in a hotel room
A parallel universe unfolding within a surreal frame
Enfolded in two familiar arms
Embracing again for the first time
Renewal – the act of letting go

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Inspired by all forms of energy and art, lauren.napier takes comfort in the written word and in creative performance. She lives within a lush realm of bittersweet melodies and phrases alongside her black feline, her guitar, and typewriter. Wherever lauren might be, her work may be found online at punkrockdoll.com or followed upon instagram.

Photo: Jonathan Pielmayer

two poems – sandra santos

santos

have you ever asked a butterfly
if flying once transformed is hard
and how much weight is lost meanwhile
the wasteful creaking of the world’s skin
the copious slash on a piece of blow
pushing your smile through the night
— you belated hour end a cycle
music is the dawn
you trace in my way of surrendering to sleep
the remembrance that fills my heart with a sudden longing
to have you here someday
lightly
unveiling the beauty
of our flight
that heads to silence.

nunca perguntaste a uma borboleta
se lhe custa voar quando transformada
qual o peso largado no voo
e é custoso o ranger de pele do mundo
o corte copioso sobre um pedaço de sopro
movendo o teu sorriso pela noite
— ó hora tardia que findas um ciclo
a música é a aurora
que traças no modo de me abrir ao sono
a lembrança que traz ao peito um súbito desejo
de te ter aqui um dia
já leve
desvendando a beleza
do nosso voo
rumo ao silêncio.

if I were a dagger
I would drop
the blade
every day
on the wet grass
until it came back
in blossom.

se eu fosse um punhal
deixaria cair
a lâmina
todos os dias
na erva molhada
até ela regressar
em flor.

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Sandra Santos is a poet, teacher, writer, and translator from Portugal born in 1994. She holds a B.A. in Languages and International Relations from University of Porto and got her Master’s degree in Editorial Studies at the University of Aveiro. As a translator, she has published her work in Portugal, Spain, and Latin America, working back and forth in Portuguese, Spanish, and English. Her own poetic work can be found online at: http://sandrasantos-ss.blogspot.pt/.

Prepared and translated by Nicolás Barbosa López

Photo: Claire Brear

 

two of pentacles – robert beveridge

two of pentacles

The table sits in the corner. It
is brown. The fixture over
the table holds four lights. One
is burnt out. One is missing.
The other two are low watt
bulbs. The walls on two sides
of the table are beige. Chairs,
mismatched, face the table
on the other two sides.

The table is empty save a single
sheet of paper. It bends upwards
at the edges as if it had been
folded into thirds, placed
in an envelope. If there was
an envelope, it is not there.
It has been moved from the table.

A thread dangles from between
the two expansion leaves. It is
attached to the body of a spider.
The spider catches every draft,
drifts in the wind on the end
of the silk. The spider cannot
read, does not know what
the paper says. The Russian
Blue who lives in the house
jumps up, bats at the paper,
knocks it from the table.

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November 2018 marked Robert Beveridge’s thirtieth anniversary as a publishing poet. When not writing, he makes noise (xterminal.bandcamp.com) in Akron, OH. Recent/upcoming appearances in Pink Litter, Triadæ, and Welter, among others. 

two poems – victoria moore

candy

I HAVE A LOVE-HATE RELATIONSHIP WITH PLANNED PARENTHOOD

purgatory has a purple accent wall
where outdated times
chime me too
in grim agreement with
messages preaching
planning as solemn power
smear piss and pricks
of blood
the pretended portents of modernity
we come to calm infernos
hearts in hand
ripped bloody out of wounded chests
since a slaughter succeeds the fairy tale
starry eyed notions of invincibility
stricken before the scales

 

 

SWEETTART

I like waiting rooms with complimentary candy
get us to forget the float
how we drift
buoys untethered through a living supposedly
linear
hum a schoolyard taunt
first comes sex
next comes death
finally you get your white picket fence
hold in breath bated by the immemorial
war drum of suburban America
if you’re lucky the upgrades an Audi a3
and he’ll smile over more than a drink
we hear the chant in our socially collected cerebellum
that this progression is not up for debate
at this month’s city council meeting step
back from the podium shrills the superintendent
and fall
back to involuntary lines
we were born in rank
in the back
of a Walmart wound up
by blinking exit alley signs
point us deep through mirrored mazes
my neuron tangle goes
national
grid
electric
cus waxed paper is decked out with
juicy, shiny, bright, hot
watermelon
dum dums I always liked
consumption in a way
suggestive
of sex with childlike affinity

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Victoria Moore is a poet, student of history, and museum professional. She is currently finishing her MA in History and Museum Studies at Tufts University and hails from Chelmsford, Massachusetts. You’ll most likely find her nestled in library alcoves reading up on medieval popular religion, wandering through New England forests, or grabbing Dunkin Donuts like a true Yankee. 

Photo: Sharon McCutcheon

five poems – homeless

homeless

i.

The man standing
next to me on the A train
keeps taking off his sneakers
& then putting them back on
& then taking them off
& then putting them back on.

He’s either shitfaced
or just really misses/likes
the sight of his socks.

ii.

I just noticed that
his socks have little,
yellow ducks on them.

It’s really
anyone’s game
now.

 

 

 

 

 

Your greatest achievement in life
was that sand castle you built
by yourself when you were
five years old.
Not because the sandcastle
was awesome
but because of the simple
yet massive amount of joy
that building it brought you
even though you knew
sooner or later
some high tided, son of a bitch-wave
was going to come along
& destroy it.

 

 

 

 

 

She moved through 7-11
like music being played
from a harp that someone
found in a dark alley
& she wore her “bag lady” coat
as if it were lacy black lingerie.

I wanted to give her
the s’mores Pop Tarts
I was standing in line to buy.

Kind of like a chocolate-frosted
“thank you” to her
for just existing.

 

 

 

 

I used to get offended
when people stared at me
like some unattended backpack
but these days I just walk up to
whatever person I see doing this
then lean in close to their ear
& whisper,

tick,tick,tick,tick,tick,tick…

No one stares at me
like an unattended backpack
after that.

They stare at me like
I’m something else.

Something
I actually
am.

 

 

 

 

 

The housing-impaired man
lived in a big cardboard box
right outside the downtown R & W
28th street subway entrance.

That was his home.

There was an empty Coors Light can
standing on top of his box.

It looked like an aluminum
chimney.

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Homeless is a shithead laureate / crap artist who publishes poems and hangs “art” on the streets & in the subways of NYC. The streets & subways of NYC both hate his poems & art & have begged him to stop but Homeless refuses because he has “nothing better to do” with his time. He has two books forthcoming—“Ghost Crumbs,” a collection of poetry (University of Hell Press), & “This Hasn’t Been a Very Magical Journey So Far,” a novel (Expat Press). If you’d like to reach him, you can find Homeless nestled on the virtual streets of obscurity at… Instagram, Twitter.

holes – hillary leftwich

holes

They lay down on the bed, his head inside her chest. He thinks of how a heart is like an engine, if the oil runs out it will seize. He saw a broken engine at his mechanics once, right after their daughter Lily disappeared. See that? The mechanic said, pointing a socket wrench at the hole. If you don’t check your oil, that’s going to be your engine. That’s going to be his heart. Too many cigarettes, too much booze, and love tethered then clipped. She slips him inside of her, asks if he wants it faster. He answers in heavy breaths. When the shaking subsides, she doesn’t touch him. They fall asleep and wake to an Amber Alert on his phone, flashing like a neon sign. He shuts his eyes and dreams of a little girl stolen. The girl is in a car with a man speeding down a curling highway. The trees lean in on either side of the road, straining to see inside. The man tells the girl the engine sounds funny, and if she isn’t careful he’ll bust a hole right through her heart. He hands her a gallon of strawberry milk and she drowns herself in pink, erasing her face. The man whistles to the music on the radio as he drives, the trees in the rearview mirror folding like two dark wings.

When he wakes up, the dog outside is barking, the coffee machine is grumbling, and she’s gone, a hole on the side of the bed where her body used to be.

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Hillary Leftwich currently lives in Denver with her son in The Murder House, a registered historical landmark and notorious 1970’s flophouse. She is the poetry and prose editor for Heavy Feather Review and curates At the Inkwell Denver. In her day jobs she has worked as a private investigator, maid, repo agent, and pinup model. Currently, she freelances as an editor, writing workshop instructor, guest instructor for Kathy Fish’s Fast Flash Workshop, and writer. Her writing can be found or is forthcoming in print and online in such journals as Entropy, The Missouri Review, The Review Review, Hobart, Smokelong Quarterly, Matter Press, Literary Orphans, Occulum, and others. Her book, Ghosts Are Just Strangers Who Know How to Knock, is forthcoming from Civil Coping Mechanisms/The Accomplices in October of 2019.  Find her online at hillaryleftwich.com and on Twitter @hillaryleftwich

Photo: Fancycrave

12/15/09 – jen kolic

jen kolic

I broke into your house not knowing what I was looking for. You, maybe.

Instead there’s an overturned stroller in the living room. Piles of clothes that must be yours. Empty picture frames like open mouths. Your mother’s dishes.

You’re dead, and I’m dying.

Through every window you watch me from the dark porch, waiting for me to say it. Waiting for me to open my mouth.

In the attic the rain is deafening. And you’re down there somewhere. Sprawled on the garage roof or the front lawn or Cherry Avenue. In every memory your eyes are already vacant. I never liked it up here, the sloping ceiling pressing down to meet me, and all the sleeping rooms below.

There aren’t any stars tonight, and anyway they’re not for us. You’re dead. And I killed you. And I’m dying.

moon

Jen Kolic is a writer, editor, and know-it-all living in Denver. She co-hosts Queen City Companion with Brian Flynn, and Mutiny Book Club with Byron Graham. Jen enjoys cats, junk food, and mystery novels, ideally all at once. 

Photo: Yener Ozturk

on bones – shelby yaffe

sweat.jpg

If I could give you the beat
I think King David danced to
I would use my rib bone as
my holy drumstick, my skin
pulled taut to be my drum, taut
like women pull at their flesh
in the mirror when they cry

If I could give you a boat
hewn from my own clavicles
bound with red cord, mortared with
red lipstick, I would let you
laugh and jump in the water
and I would glow when you called
my bones useful, sharp, precise

If I could give you my bones
weapons brittle and moonlit
with sewing needle scratches
the flaws of a blood diamond
I would say, Bones do not cry
Bones have no mouth to open
when they scream into the grave

moon

Shelby Yaffe is a queer author, poet, and singer-songwriter living in Denver. Her short fiction has been featured in the Fast Forward Anthology Flash 101: Surviving the Fiction Apocalypse and in Suspect Press. Shelby would love to write a poem for your girlfriend. You can find out more about Shelby and her work at shelbyyaffe.com

Photo: Jay Halsey

cutting bones – morgan leathem weiss

bone

They cut bones
while their lover saws coconuts.

Lining them up against the brick wall,
there is nothing for the sun to bleach.

Tinny, tenacious shrieks
pierce the air and emit an aria.

Metallic, it leaves a poor taste on the tongue,
the kind of putrid fur no scraper can peel.

The sound of bones primordial
against a backdrop of bold, fuzzy shells

hangs over human heads,
calculating, ruminating, no other than a bored specter.

One person struggles to find meaning,
but is left with the other cradling the saw.

Trapped within the jungle’s fury,
even the bones are not themselves.

moon

Morgan Leathem Weiss is a writer and folklorist from the Midwest. Her poetry has appeared in The Raven’s Perch, Really Serious Literature, Ghost City Review and is forthcoming in Clockwise Cat, while her essays have been featured in Jadaliyya and Folklore Thursday. When she is not interviewing archaeologists, she enjoys podcasts, experimental film, and exploring ruins. She splits her time between Oaxaca, Chicago, and the forests of Connecticut.

Photo: @zellersamuel

they are under my comforter of stars – promise clutter

redwoods
there will be an October surely,
my love,
suspended in fog
spiced with bark
& trapped beneath a canopy of mules
blocking the heavens from knowing
which way the wind blows
i do not catch in the chill
nothing here brings me to you
i see love in the gold glint on green
in the heat of the day
at night, the dogs hear
my mournful howls
i am not for you
as the redwoods are
i shed my leaves
before the first frost
i think you are the only one
to have ever seen the moon,
my love,
with candied cheek awe
trimming back eyelashes
exposing lakes of arcane calm
it is silent in comptche
we shuffle across dirt paths
i grab our elbows
to make us stargaze
they too are under
these lights
when you shine on them
won’t you send my love?
i grew accustomed to living without you,
my love,
here where the candlewax waves
crash against the stones
& the crow’s caw pierces my heart
my heart that aches for you
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