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. 

NEVERS – angelo colavita

nevers

never as cold as alone
never as grievance as cowering
never as erstwhile as while away
never as milk as apology
never as pointed as silent
never as sentient as salient
never as cause as roundabout
never as hiccup as dying
never as frogs-hop as toad-croak
never as ordinary as chemical burn
never as prescribed as diaries
never as ocean as beginning
never as lost as ocean
never as poem as breathing
never as cost as cat’s pajamas
never as love as never
never as sometimes
never as nevermind
never as fact as daydream
never as bird as poem
never as whole as posturing
never as skinny minnie as loosie-goosie
never as punk as monks and monkeys
never as goth as a grandmother
never as metal as hedge nettle
never as entropy as dystrophy
never as end as cluster
never stars

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Angelo Colavita is a nihilist and experimental poet living in Philadelphia, where he serves as Founding Editor of Empty Set Press and Associate Editor at Occulum Journal. He is the author of two chapbooks, Flowersonnets (2018) and Heroines (2017), with work forthcoming or appearing in Pigeon Anthology 2, Dream Pop Journal, Prolit Magazine, Breadcrumbs, Luna Luna Magazine, Yes Poetry, Be About It Zine, and elsewhere online and in print. Follow him on Twitter @angeloremipsum and on Instagram @angelocolavita   

Photo: Samuel Zeller

three poems – rebecca kokitus

deer

sagittarius

the music of his teeth grinding
isn’t enough to lull me to sleep

there is a draft in the room, there is
a freedom in letting yourself shiver

I think your ghost would be a fever
leaving dew on my flesh

I keep picturing your parents
finding you

the guilt flickers on my eyelids
you told me you were so tired

I told you sleep
I told you sleep

I pray to whichever deity will
have me

pray to the goddesses you favor
to hold you to their breast

on Sylvia’s birthday you chose
rope over the kitchen stove

but your throat refused to collapse,
your neck contorted

like a waist
in a corset

your sigh pushed through
like fire, like dragon breath

 

die clean

I woke up this morning and
weighed one thirty-one (point seven)

I stand in the mirror, hair creeps
from the sides of my underwear

like ivy through a window,
cobwebbed skin

like a bruise you were
just starting to forget

blue veins spider-step
over hips and breast, threadbare

dead girl, no rigor mortis
I am still so, so soft

and pockmarked like a
plush moon in a picture book

she tells me “you’re beautiful
but you should probably eat something”

I say let this body feed on the
broad shoulders, spineless back

I know I’m normal, I know
I’m like everyone else—

I wash my mouth out in the mornings
and forget to at night

cut anyone open and find
only one heart, find yesterday’s shame

I am not an animal, I am
not otherworldly

I will repeat this until
it is true

 

future plans

I consider my future
the way a deer
considers the hunter

I’m so afraid of dying
that I’ll throw myself
through a windshield

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Rebecca Kokitus is a poet residing in the Philadelphia area. She has had poetry and prose published in various journals and was nominated for a Pushcart Prize in 2018. Her poetry chapbook, Blue Bucolic is forthcoming from Thirty West Publishing House in 2019. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram at @rxbxcca_anna, and you can read more of her writing on her website: https://rebeccakokitus.wixsite.com/rebeccakokitus.

Photo: Sebastian Grochowicz

“die clean” is in reference to Thinner, a novel by Stephen King.

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.

museum of lost things – howie good

lost things

Now and then a person in his or her fifties or even sixties walks into my little shop. The men in particular try to maintain a dignified demeanor, but the more they stare at the price list, the more obvious the desperate nature of their situations becomes. I operate a business that rents neckties and briefcases to job interviewees. Most of the customers are recent grads who never needed a briefcase or tie before. I may seem to care about how they’ll do in their interviews. I don’t. Why should I? They frequently return briefcases with the snap locks broken or with strange items left inside. Ant traps. Lace-trimmed panties. A blurry photocopy of an 11-page suicide note. And yet I can’t always bring myself to just throw the stuff away. In fact, I crowd more items onto the storeroom shelves every week. A chrome lighter engraved with the initials KKK. One child-size red mitten. The takeout menu from the Bowl O’ Rice Restaurant. It’s like I’m the curator of a museum of lost things. Minibar bottles. A losing scratch-off ticket. The musty remnants of a hundred surefire plans.

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Howie Good’s latest collections are I’m Not a Robot from Tolsun Books and A Room at the Heartbreak Hotel from Analog Submissions Press. 

Photo: Heather Zabriskie

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

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