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

our faithful, reckless hearts – jessie lynn mcmains

reckless

even yr ghost is shitty. no crisp bleached linen sheet ghost,
no         lingering

scent of lavender. you fly in here stinking of schwag &
cheap as shit        beer. so

dirty yr shiny. frayed as a patch on a crust punk’s bum flap. even
yr ghost

needs punching but my fist’d just float. right through ya. i
think about you          more

now than i did when        you were alive. did you know. i
donated some copies

of my zine to that raffle. they held in yr name. for yr
memorial fund. to give          to yr

kid. you fucking asshole, you had a kid. i keep reliving the times
we met.

everything you did and said. that pissed me off. like that night in
the crowded          apartment.

christ, it was 4/20. did you know. at first i thought you were
cool. we all shot          gunned

blatz n’ turned the empties. into weed pipes. all stoned & drunk
on the cheap

shit. everyone talking about party drugs & butt sex. you
were the only other         fucker

in a battle vest. all studded & sloganed. patched & poked. the
conversation

turned to Wisco punk rock. we namedropped. back & forth.
Avoided, Pistofficer,                   even

that real old school shit. Die Kreuzen, Sacred Order. but by the
time I

mentioned Boris The Sprinkler. you had yr dick           flag
flying. you said           they don’t

count cuz they’re pop punk. pop punk is for girls & fags. well
I’m a girl & I’m

a faggot, I should have. didn’t say. tried instead to ignore
ya. later you        said

something like it’s gross when chicks don’t shave. I had glitter
in my armpit

hair. wanted to rub yr stupid face in it. I went out to the kitchen.
so I wouldn’t           strangle

ya. asshole, when I found out you were a dad I was like,
ugh, I can’t believe

a chick would even touch you. except to kick yr ass. ugh. to
think of all that         toxic
nonsense you were passing on. & that other night. you
smashed a rotten

pumpkin on the downtown sidewalk. in front of the bar we were
stumbling                   out of.

juvenile move, delinquent. like you were twelve, not thirty-
two. someone

coulda slipped. n’ you left it for the local business owners to
clean                 up. later

I heard the owner of that bar was a creep. so I forgave ya.
but knowing you

it wasn’t any kind of righteous. just mayhem. asshole. when you
followed                  me

on Instagram & liked my selfies. I texted L. ew. guess he
doesn’t know

I hate his guts. it was kinda funny that you dug me. in my
Ramones shirt. since you          hated

pop punk so. much. after I heard you’d killed yrself. I felt
no vengeful,

not joy. just morbid. curious, I visited yr Facebook. yr last days
you devolved,         dissolved

into paranoia. afraid of yr own shadow-self. sure the world
was out. to

get ya. so now yr shitty ghost just haunts. me. annoying me with
might-have-beens.          buddy

if I hadn’t loathed ya we would’ve. been best friends. we
are. we were? the

same. ever-reckless. drawn to self-demise. faithful only. to the
tools of our                  destruction.

holding the whole world. at arms length. convinced no one
would ever. for real

love us. the only thing that saved me. is praising. my tender.
loving my holy          wounds.

there are so many. things I should’ve asked ya. like hey
asshole, why. did you

do it. like, hey. what did you want. what wounded yr most.
secret, heedless                  heart.

that you wouldn’t. let yrself. ask for. if you’d just painted.
yr nails sparkle

pink n’ let a girl. peg ya while you listened to pop punk. would
you still be          here.

it’s been a year. now. if I could find yr grave I’d slamdance
on it. I’d bring

grave goods. leave offerings. of glitter. & pumpkin guts. I’d
come with my                  spray

paint & leave you. slogans. 666 world is a fuck. born to die.
young. too

late. damn you. we were the last. living punk rockers. now yr
dead &          I’m just

a poet. asshole. i wanted to punch ya. but I didn’t. wish
you. ghost. fuck

you. who am I gonna argue about. music with. now?

moon

Jessie Lynn McMains is a poet, writer, zine-maker, and small press publisher; a collector of souvenir pennies and stick & poke tattoos. Their words have recently appeared or are forthcoming in Barren Magazine, Philosophical Idiot, The Ginger Collect, Sad Girl Review, ISAcoustic, Cauldron Anthology, Anti-Heroin Chic, and others; they’re also a contributing writer for Pussy Magic. You can find their personal website at recklesschants.net, their press at boneandinkpress.com, or follow them on Tumblr, Twitter, and Instagram @rustbeltjessie

Photo: James Sutton

midwestern meditation – adrian s. potter

Stephen Radford

Having never been to heaven, I can’t conceive of hell. But when I consider it, I see yellow crops crowding a flat expanse and everything tinged with ochre – even our incendiary expectations. During our road trip, we solve the riddle of boredom by inventorying the silos, smokestacks, and silence that populates the prairie skyline. Everything we say sounds like an echo of something we said earlier. But in your eyes, I witness truth: brown of soil, green of grass, gold of grain, gray of tornadoes. Still, I dream of foreclosed fields and dying cowtowns, and yours the only living soul, a specter in reverse.

cropped-ghost-january.jpg

Adrian S. Potter writes poetry and short fiction. He is the author of the fiction chapbook Survival Notes (Červená Barva Press, 2008) and winner of the 2010 Southern Illinois Writers Guild Poetry Contest. Some publication credits include North American Review, Obsidian and Kansas City Voices. He blogs, sometimes, at http://adrianspotter.com/.

Photo: Stephen Radford