mental regurgitation – juliet cook



I was terrified of leeches when I was a girl. I was walking home from school with a boy who pointed at a hole in the ground and told me that bloodsuckers lived inside holes. When I got home, I asked my mom what a bloodsucker was. She informed me bloodsuckers were mutant worms that stuck themselves to your skin and sucked your blood and could not be pulled out with your fingers. She said the only way to get them out was to burn them.

I was extremely squeamish about blood and hellfire, and so the idea of having a big misshapen worm penetrating my flesh and swallowing my blood seemed like a horror movie scene. I saw myself fainting and falling down into a continually sucked pool of my own blood while burning in hell.

In my late teens, I found out about medicinal leeches.  When they had no idea how to treat hysterical females, they would insert the leeches into women’s vaginas, in an attempt to alleviate their mental disorders by having blood sucked out of their female parts.

Sometimes my memory exaggerates things, but I’m telling you what I remember. The bloodsucking leeches are stuck inside women’s vaginas. They are almost impossible to pull out.  Maybe that’s what it means to be a woman. Maybe you can’t control what’s stuck inside you and it will keep sucking and sucking and sucking the life out of you.

How in the hell would they remove a leech from a woman’s vagina? By sticking a cigarette inside her?  By inserting a gloved set of fingers  to probe and pry? Are there special medicinal instruments for extracting the leeches? Or for secretly inserting one inside of a woman forever?


In my adult life, I still hate the gynecologist. I still worry about what might be inside me. But I’m not as squeamish about blood as I used to be. After all, menstrual blood clots have been blobbing themselves out of my vagina every month for close to 30 years, so I’m pretty used to internal blood baths.

If a leech attached itself to my body now, I think I’d be able to handle it and even take a series of photos, watching it suck enough blood until it fell off me. As a little girl, I had no idea they could ever get enough blood and fall off on their own. As a teenager, I had to investigate everything unusual on my own.

I found out that trying to remove a leech by burning is one of the least effective forms of removal, because not only does that maim or kill the leech, it also has much more potential to injure you. Even if the fire makes the leech fall off, first that injured leech will vomit the sucked blood out of its body and into your body. That bloody vomit will enter your wound.

Then the violent infection of your own wound will work its way into your womb and you will keep growing more and more infected leeches and popping them out of your vagina like a hideous infestation of babies shaped like giant worms or tiny malformed blood sucking penises.


Juliet Cook is a grotesque glitter witch medusa hybrid brimming with black, grey, silver, purple, and dark red explosions. She is drawn to poetry, abstract visual art, and other forms of expression. Her poetry has appeared in a peculiar multitude of literary publications. You can find out more at

Photo: Erol Ahmed

unnamable – richard anderson


I slip from troubled dreams
into that half-asleep state
where nostalgia often visits.
A magical time of comfort,
suggestion, even whimsy,
where old realities intertwine
with imaginary tomorrows
and wistful impossibilities
becoming welcomed moments
a felicitous reprieve.
Too soon, always too soon,
the icy fingers of an emerging day
reach inside my reverie
gripping me like an insect
ensnared in the spider’s silk.
With desperate reluctance
I grudgingly submit,
the illusion dissipating
as mist to a warming wind.
Walking to another empty day,
I begin, with weary resolve,
to search a thousand yesterdays
for that dusty relic stashed
behind sparkling neon ornaments
of halcyon days and nights,
imperfect mementos of passersby,
even within the chain-draped sarcophagi
of those things best left untouched.
Maybe there will be something,
a recollection hidden or misplaced,
worthy yet of remembrance,
to make this day matter
enough to let me matter still.
But for every glint of light
there is a shadow clinging,
every joy countered by doubt,
each laugh a fresh tear,
any kindness an atrocity.
My search ends as treasure hunts do,

with frustration, angry distraction
and a deflating sense of futility.
Memories, it appears, only matter
to the rememberer in the end
and remembering anything alone
is so damn lonely.
As vivid dawn absorbs me
into encroaching radiance
the unnamable lust rises again.
I recognize it at once,
felt its dark caress before:
when the rocks far below
beckoned with enticing relief;
in the oncoming headlights
of another night traveler
or when this current chapter began
and I pursued it with such zeal.
But I was naïve and tentative
like a teenaged boy the first time.
I know much more now.
The prospect of a long life
filled with this kind of tomorrow
is much more terrifying to me
than an eternity with the dead,
kindred spirits always near
who lie upon me heavily
like a comfortable old sweater
on a chilly fall afternoon.
My thoughts turn to them.
I want to know what they know,
see what they’ve seen when
their forever moment drew them
into its unsympathetic embrace;
when, like frost under of rising sun,
fear and hatred fell away,
pain and worry ended.
I want to know what I’ll see.
Will they all be waiting?
Everyone I loved, wanted to love?
Will I, at last, be home?
I can’t really know
until I join them.


Rick Anderson is incarcerated in Sterling Correctional Facility, Sterling Colorado, where he works in the library,. Writing poetry helps Rick endure the hardships of life in prison, and often returns him to his beloved nature.

art as rebellion – howie good


There are some rules, like to never wear shoes, that you just refuse to obey. You pick up a piece of wood and start to see it become a hand, but also stay a tree. At night you
anonymously paste drawings of giant babies around your neighborhood. The plaza is still named Generalissimo Francisco Franco, even though it’s over 40 years after the fall of the dictatorship. Gary says to you, “You better look at a gun; you don’t know what a gun really looks like.” So for Valentine’s Day he gets you a plastic AK-47. Pharaoh’s army falls back.


Howie Good is the author of three recent collections, I’m Not a Robot from Tolsun Books, The Titanic Sails at Dawn from Alien Buddha Press, and What It Is and How to Use It from Grey Book Press.

Photo: Ashim D’Silva

where have all the french surrealists gone in denver? – tom christian


They’ve got post-modern
coming out the ears and
they can burp up contemporaries
just like that
where have all the French surrealists gone in Denver?
If I threw my shoe into the air
would it turn into a balloon?

They want to contextualize my shoes-
analyze them, analyze me, then compare

them to shoes of the past.
It makes my orangatang want to weep.
Our computers are draining our colors,
no longer can a man simply be
a walrus in a dream –
he must first be shown, first,
the circuits underneath.


Tom Christian is a queer poet currently living and working in Denver Colorado. At night he can be found wandering the streets, conversing with ghosts. 

but what about the novel? – ellen huang

steven johnson.jpg

The scene is in middle school, in two separate lines to electric chairs.
They won’t use the electricity. All we do is sit, they inject, and it’s done.
Then we get up and hop on over to the happy place–
a colorful room fluffed with pillows and stuffed
animals, the comfiest pile, the biggest slumber
party. Relax until sleep kicks in.
Before I know it, I’m next in line.
We’ve been chatting for a while, me and a tall, brown girl
who’s called up before me. Cheerily, she says she’ll see me soon. She means heaven.
Oh yeah, I say, casually. Casualties in the comfy room
didn’t occur to me. I’m called up next, and I’m at ease.
As I stroll to my death, a little thought asks,
But what about the novel? I realize I’m not ready to die.
I have a novel to write. The nurses, once so nice,
reveal themselves to be witches, escaped sirens from my story.
Lightning spews from their fingers when I run.

Ellen Huang is a cape-wearing mortal living her best life, with a BA in Writing & Theatre minor from Point Loma Nazarene University. She’s been known to possess vast knowledge of myths and fairy tales, as well as practically live in a prop closet full of exotic decorations. She has pieces published in Sirens Call, Wax Poetry and Art Magazine, HerStry, Diverging Magazine, Awkward Mermaid, Enchanted Conversation, Writers Ink, Between the Lines, Quail Bell Magazine, Ink & Nebula, Rigorous Magazine, Whispers, The Folks, Hummingbird Magazine, The Driftwood, The Gallery, and Perfume River Poetry Review. She enjoys reenacting movie scenes, burning things, and swimming in the sea. Follow if you wanna: 

Art: Steve Johnson


a vertigo – leah white

siyan ren


the world is much more wonderful when you think that it is
the world is much more wonderful you can think that
think the world is wonderful and it is much more wonderful
you think the world is wonderful but it is much more wonderful
than you think the world is more wonderful if you think it is
the whirl is munch munch, one of the four with your shrink wrap it is
various things create a vertigo.…………..yes it is



Cherie is blurry weary
worry is sorry
starry theory
merely heavy

I flounder
fluid flowing flute flipping
flicks leap end flap
flinch flake

varied things create a vertigo
you think the world is
wonderful but it is
vertical…………..then vitriol…………..then vigil



a vertigo as in heightened contrast
as in soft soft soft…………hard
as a confuse…… view that feels

everything written on water
a room of water
I flounder…………for the words

try to flinch in water
try to have a scare try to have a
have is
in water

Leah White is an MFA candidate at University of Colorado Boulder. Originally from Tempe, Arizona, she currently teaches creative writing, works on Timber Journal, and runs a reading series in Boulder.

Photo: Siyan Ren

protest poem in three parts – c.j. strauss

protest poem

Dedicated to Burroughs and Kerouac the Beats and their Fathers all them lads who sang
………….America awake, kampf’d das gut Kampf way back when,
all the way back, them hard times, them good times,
………….back before PornHub, back before dope on demand, back when any old bum
could summon up a death sentence in five months or fewer
courtesy some odd San Francisco shitter…
……………Them real good times.
I’m just kidding. Fuck those filthy bastards. Fuck those porcine perverts. Go fuck yourself with your Man/Boy Love. This is a form of warning.
…………………..Kids, gets your Wikis. Get your Multi-pedias, your Googlies and your Who-Hows. Kids, watch out for the Ginsbergs and the Kammerers, those fowl manbeasts, those irredeemable, insensitive, hard-boiled…

The tranny doth protest too much.

……………I go to a very expensive university. They built the atom bomb here, U know.
My professor who is old and white and wears Doc Martens says that all is fair in love and satire.
…………..So I can talk like this. I can make like the Beats and sound off. But I ain’t ‘gon say the N-word. Hell no.

…………….The greatest minds of our generation…
Down the hall Fatima phones her mother back home:
…………..Hey mom—today I cured cancer, ended world hunger,
…………..and discovered an unlimited source of renewable energy.
I masturbate on stolen Wi-Fi. Kill cops with my brain.

Hoover was a Columbia man. Or maybe that was Eisenhower? What difference does it make…
…………He said something about a cock in every mouth, a Jeep Wrangler in every garage, and free pot for everyone. God fucking bless this America. God fucking bless us all to death.



A brief lesson from the White and Blue, now Robin Hooded down to you. Free, unless you’d like to make a donation. In which case, I take Venmo, PayPal, cash, and wire transfer. Slide into my DMs.

…………..If one wishes to improve their writing, and this fact is incontrovertible, ………… should always, invariably, and unequivocally avoid verbosity (that is, …………..floridity, or the excessive use of language) in their prose.

And now, back to your regularly-scheduled-desperate-wailing-into-the-great-unknown.


I’m not—
I’m an “academic.”
I don’t purport to be
the Michael Jordan of being trans.
I don’t purport to be anything. Ich, ich, ICK!
Oh Daddy, give it to me just like that. I love it when you traumatize me.
I’m an academic. A hooker with an internet connection. And that’s showbiz, baby.
Oh Sylvia, Oh Sylvia. You do not do, you do not do.
Gone too soon. Loved by too few. Just like a Jew.
I too, may be a bit of a Jew. And what else?
A pastiche of Boylans and Bonos (not the soda, not the singer…)
But my fingers are god’s gift to womankind, my tongue a unique endowment. I could make Mother Mary quiver. This flesh flays finery, and I implore you to find out for yourself.
………….I’m the greatest thing since gluten-free bread. I’m the greatest thing since modern measles. Wicked smart, too. Like Einstein, smart. And humble.

………….My therapist says I’m not a narcissist, by the way.

Allen Ginsberg, I’m still mad at, about, and around you. What the fuck, man? Like, thanks for the inspiration,
I guess. This is some form of protest. Where does this queer shoulder go? Lord knows I don’t have a driver’s license.
Moloch. Moloch. Moloch. First chance I get I’m having a hysterectomy. Moloch.
And if I’m lucky, Moloch, Oxford will pay for the whole procedure. Bet you didn’t see this one coming, Moloch.
Wouldn’t you like it if I hitched a ride to Newark and shitted a swastika onto your grave? Just kidding. That would be disgusting. Sorry, have I offended? It’s 2pm, Friday the fifth, haven’t had, Moloch, breakfast yet. Moloch. Is it hot in here? O my enemy. Do I terrify?

I got a pair of Doc Martens. Birkenstocks, too. Thinking about getting some Timbs when I have the money. I should treat myself, right? I keep my shoes in a walk-in closet. Woe is the ever-wanting lesbian. Woe is the hole the holy alone.

C.J. Strauss is a transgender writer and artist currently pursuing their B.A. in English at Barnard College. Their art and writing has been published both internationally and domestically by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, The Claremont Review, Vade Mecum Magazine, GREYstone Youth Litmag, Echoes Literary Magazine, RATROCK Magazine, and the Barnard Bulletin. C.J. presently interns at the Poetry Society of New York and the Visible Poetry Project where their responsibilities include social media management and community engagement.

Photo: Jon Tyson