For Your Peace of Mind — Alyssa Jordan

bush
photo by: Hadley Jin

She likes to pull out her pubic hair one at a time. She waits until a forest of spindly black vines has grown between her thighs, eagerly anticipating how strong each strand will be, how thick the roots will have become.

Little slivers of pain accompany the loss of each hair. She studies the water-encapsulated tip, the fibrous black strand. She would like to uproot other things. If she could, she’d start with all the people who have caused her pain.

Mostly, she’d like to uproot the people she hears about on the news, the ones who are sometimes women but usually men.

She likes to imagine her hand gripping a pair of tweezers, snapping the pincers open and shut—like a hungry alligator—before fitting the silver tongs around each of their heads, pulling them out at the root.

Each time she tweezes her pubic hair, the pain gets a little sharper. Her smile grows a little wider.

How nice it is, she thinks, to clear the debris.


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Alyssa Jordan is a writer living in the United States. She pens literary horoscopes for F(r)iction Series. Her stories can be found or are forthcoming in The Sunlight Press, X–R-A-Y Literary Magazine, Reflex Fiction, and more. When she’s not writing, she’s hanging out with her partner or watching too many movies. You can find her on Twitter @ajordan901and Instagram @ajordanwriter.

Bodies in a Recession — Matthew DeMarco

andrew-karn--yZjegM0sUw-unsplash
photo by: Andrew Karn

Rain and night, Minneapolis,
us, and four suitcases.
Greyhound and a city bus.
Clipped roll in the night. A fade.

Looking west from a pink bedroom
full of linens for a guest,
my eyelids sagging, colored
red from liquor and cinnamon sticks.

If it was noble
to correct the market
the unemployed would be given medals,
and we’d wear them.

Thrum of an airplane overhead.
Recall its low-flying drone again,
and my fingers guide the wind around her flame.

We are lonely in this manmade valley.
Teens clang and hang like bats
from the half-dome batting cage behind our backs.

The water table underneath permeates
the sheds that shake beside the lakes.
This common source of poisoning
affects all things that drink from me.

Here’s a tip for the welfare line:
a note on letterhead from the mayor.

*pieces of this poem were originally published as “Track 16: Half Light II (No Celebration) by Arcade Fire.” in Opossum 


matt

Matthew DeMarco lives in Chicago. His work has appeared on Poets.org and in Ghost City Review, Landfill, Sporklet, Glass, and elsewhere. Poems that he wrote with Faizan Syed have appeared in Jet Fuel Review, Dogbird, and They Said, an anthology of collaborative writing from Black Lawrence Press. He tweets sporadically from @M_DeMarco_Words.

Two Poems — Martina Reisz Newberry

bodyy

Into the Skid

for Alexis Rhone Fancher

The year I lost my virginity,
Marilyn Monroe took her own life.

She’d had it.
She didn’t want it anymore.

She didn’t care about John Glenn
orbiting the earth. She’d orbited

the earth lots of times
with champagne and Nembutal

waltzing elegantly in her magical body.
I cared about orbiting the earth

and figured losing my virginity
would be about the same thing.

We’d been to see “West Side Story”
and our shared grief at Tony’s demise

and Maria’s devastation took us
to the Los Cochinos Motel
(Hourly, Daily, Monthly Rates–Free T.V!).

There, in the aluminum light
of Gunsmoke’s dusty tribulations,

I unbuttoned my blouse,
he unbuttoned his jeans,

I unzipped my skirt,
he took off his socks,
I dug in my purse for a mint,
he dug in his pocket for a condom.

Stripping, I thought,
surely doesn’t take long.

The Beatles were on the radio,
sang “Love Me Do,” and that’s

what I was thinking as he tried
to figure out where to touch me

to unleash my passion. My passion
seemed to want to stay leashed.

The progression from there
is everyone’s story:

the French Kiss,
the hard, close embrace,
the tweaking and the tracing–

that unskilled first dance
that everyone knows.

It took 12 minutes; I counted them,
peering somewhat unsteadily

at my Timex watch–a graduation gift
from my parents. It kept good time.

I must confess, I was unimpressed.
He said, You’ll get to like it the more we do it.

When I told my roommate about it,
she said the whole sex thing was an

orchestrated hoax, laid on women
to keep them encumbered and enslaved.

She said that, during our lifetimes,
there might be a few encounters that would

produce momentary ecstasy, but, to stay sane,
I shouldn’t depend on that

The night we went to see “Dr. No,”
he started to drive in to Los Cochinos again.

I protested. I said, not this time. He said,
The more we do it, the better you’ll like it.

“We?” I thought, “Meaning you and me?
“We?” I thought, and dropped him like a hot rock.

 

White Italian*

When I nudged my IV Pole down the hallway,
I thought of myself as a snail.

The floors–slick and clean–warned me to venture
slowly and leave no trail–I was, after all,

so much lighter than usual and was somewzat
addicted to proving myself.

So, I walked, slowly, looking down at my feet,
wondering how a hospital stay

could take away my warm, soft, sexy feet
and leave these icy, wrinkled, bluelined feet
in their stead.

Then there was the dead end of the hallway,
right smack in front of me
a plane of choices:

go to the right, no go left, no, best to turn around
and go back to my room;

best to let the IV Pole know rest, let a warmed
blanket hide and hug my self.

Really quite ill says the doctor. Really ill for now,
but we’ll get you better.

The snail in me uncurls, straightens out on the bed.
The snail believes in getting better.

* Theba pisana, commonly named the White Garden Snail, is an edible species of medium-sized, air-breathing land snail, a terrestrial pulmonate gastropod mollusk in the family Helicidae, the typical snails. (Source: Wikipedia)


martina

Martina Reisz Newberry is the author of 6 books of poetry. Her  most recent book is BLUES FOR FRENCH ROAST WITH CHICORY, available from Deerbrook Editions. She is the author of NEVER COMPLETELY AWAKE ( from Deerbrook Editions), and TAKE THE LONG WAY HOME (Unsolicited Press).  She is also the author of WHERE IT GOES (Deerbrook Editions). LEARNING BY ROTE (Deerbrook Editions) and RUNNING LIKE A WOMAN WITH HER HAIR ON FIRE: Collected Poems (Red Hen Press). She has been included in “The Sixty Four Best Poets of 2018” (Black Mountain Press/The Halcyone Magazine editorial staff). Newberry has been included in As It Ought to Be, Big Windows, Courtship of Winds, The Cenacle, Cog, Futures Trading, and many other literary magazines in the U.S. and abroad. Her work is included in the anthologies Marin Poetry Center Anthology, Moontide Press Horror Anthology,  A Decade of Sundays: L.A.’s Second Sunday Poetry Series-The First Ten Years, In The Company Of Women, Blessed Are These Hands and Veils, and Halos & Shackles: International Poetry on the Oppression and Empowerment of Women. She has been awarded residencies at Yaddo Colony for the Arts, Djerassi Colony for the Arts, and Anderson Center for Disciplinary Arts. Passionate in her love for Los Angeles, Martina currently lives there with her husband, Brian, a Media Creative.

Shrink — Leah Rogin-Roper

shrink2
Photo by: Hudson Hintze

I can’t hear you
anymore
talking
about how you
want your body
to look.

Tell me what your body can do
how it
stilled / mountain pose
hiked / hills
sprung / cartwheels
flung / itself
off of
a rock
or a high place

into
a body of water too cold and pure
for swimming

I’ll even listen
to the ways
you want
to train / your body
to learn / something new

to hear / bird songs
or play / chords
hitchhike / roads
navigate / streams

Tell me the miracles
How your body grew / life
healed / broke / recovered / danced / destroyed / cherished

Tell me the frivolous
That your chin / grows
one long dark curly chinhair
at random intervals
how when you are alone you allow
even your hard places to be soft.

Tell me how you slept / somewhere impossible
Or dangled / a toe into
a space you ought not to
How you held so still that some creature mistook your body for grass
And crawled / over you
Tickling

Tell me how it stung
Sang
Prayed
Mourned
Played
Created

Let me see your body in motion like the liquid machine it was meant to be
Jolting hurling throbbing exploring exploding

there are so many verbs
that are more interesting to put next to your body
than
shrink.

Don’t shrink.
Don’t tell me how you shrink.


Leahreadingphoto1

Leah Rogin-Roper believes bodies are made for action.  Some of her verbs include hike, snowboard, travel, and write.  Some of those verbs are also nouns.  Her work has recently been published in Progenitor, Blink Ink, and The Rumpus.  She teaches writing at Red Rocks Community College and lives in the mountains west of Denver.    

i find myself talking to the dead man inside of me — Adedayo Ademokoya

rose
Photo by: Mat Reding

as i sit here fumbling with the things that colour mind, i saw that death in itself is not the absence of life but another phase of life where we experience darkness in its raw form. seeing how it could have being, the dead man in me sat there in silence waiting to hear the voice of an agile poet. the poet in me is long lost as i try to conjure words with eyes to see through me. i try to form verbs to charm and potions to give me the audacity needed to speak to this man. a grieving soul does not know how to sing, for his song is rendered in the shadows of his tears and shaking of his head. i’m not grieving, i just don’t allow happiness as a standard. i’ve seen people die but this dead man in me is wanting to be resuscitated to grow by my thoughts and flourish in the rivers of my eyes. though i have the eyes of the sun, my trickling energy will not rise a man of valour in bad deeds. my energy wave is trusted in the magnitude of my unhappiness. let alone in this position of a walking dead for i will strike you dead the second time. pray i don’t do that, for a second death will be the death of the mind and of time, which is the most painful death. i don’t wish for you anything in the face of time than a tick tock of you remaining dead.


 

Adedayo A

Adedayo Ademokoya is a Nigerian poet who believes in the potency of words and writing from the heart. Adedayo is passionate about life, love, loss, family and anything that catches his fancy. His works have been published on Brave Arts Africa, Thought Catalog, Praxis Magazine, Kalahari Review, Wild Word, Indian Periodical and elsewhere. Find him on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook

Dubuque ⎯ Davey Adams

antique
Photo by: Ryan Hafey

1500 miles from home ⎯ now the van was running funny ⎯ still a long way to go. Better not press our luck. A quick pause at a roadside rest stop told us all we needed to know. The long way got longer. I eyed the corn, into the shop with ye, Chevy.

We killed time in the best way we knew how, cold Cokes in the warm sun. Oh hey, an antique shop let’s pop in for a quick look-see. Much cooler inside. Mom and I browsed while Dad chewed the fat with the old man. Dad was always up for a chat.

The room, perfumed in age… old woods, motor oil, tanned hides; filthy pine floorboards caked with grime; shelves amassed in knick-knacks of every kind; steamer trunks of a bygone time. Cobwebs clung to stacks of tobacco tins. In one case, a death’s head pin – how surprising to see such a thing. Spoils of war, collected from the corpse of a dead German – affordable for those who enjoy the souvenirs of sin. I imagined some middle-American named Bill or Jim telling the proprietor to “wrap it up with those Bakelite plates and that hurricane lantern.” How casually it sat, embossed with a rictus, that grin, a grim reminder to some, a display piece for him. No one else seemed to care. I pretended I didn’t either.

We walked out empty-handed and into the still-warming day. Repairs made, once more on our way… 1500 miles from home and double that back. One day I’ll return with my own children. Will the pin still be there in that case? And, if it were, wouldn’t it look better at the bottom of the river? We crossed over the mighty Miss. Onto Illinois and all points east.


davey

Davey Adams was born and raised in Southern California to a family of actors. Lifelong student. Collector of Associates Degrees and part-time jobs. Writer. Poet. Singer. AKA The Good Doctor. You can find him on Facebook, Instagram, and Bandcamp.

crew to sleep – ghost #4

snow cabin

Memories act as detritus, lettertorn ice
avalanched into my cabin: I stare at the ceiling
for hours, paralyzed by my sleep meds,
by fear, or by the memory of a memory.
Atop the submarine I am rooftop dazzled
by a piercing white sun. I wince at a beauty
that can kill me. We are not seeking a white whale.
We are not seeking anything. We go out to sea,
& we sleep. I have an application around here
somewhere. It reads, Fill in the blank: I function
as a _______. You get the job if you leave it blank.

 

SBGS December

photo: Thomas Henke

the insomnia – d.s. maolalai

the snore
came suddenly
like dynamite
popping in a cave.
he woke to the sound,
shocked out of sleep,
and lay there
listening to his heartbeat
and wondering
if the roof had fallen
and were the children
alright in their beds.
the next one
came
from the pillow next to him
and minutes later.
it seemed
each night
that behind her face
was a lamp-post,
hit
with occasional
cars.

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DS Maolalai is a poet from Ireland who has been writing and publishing poetry for almost 10 years. His first collection, Love is Breaking Plates in the Garden, was published in 2016 by the Encircle Press. He has been nominated for Best of the Web and twice for the Pushcart Prize.