Photo: Das Sasha
Photo: Das Sasha
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: worrydollsandfloatinglights.wordpress.com
Art: Steve Johnson
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
fluid flowing flute flipping
flicks leap end flap
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……..new 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
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
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, …………..one 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 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
and when you pull over, you’re still screaming,
hands held shaking in front of you like the skin
of them must not be real. my body hurled into
your windshield like mid-autumn hailstorm. my body
leaves streaks of blood and feathers and blindsided
desecration. my body the railroad tracks and
the trainwreck. the punching bag and the percussion
instrument. the pigeon queen, at once both sickness
and softness. you’re stumbling out of your vehicle,
sobs chiming from your throat. you see from
far away a mash of gray and white and red and bone.
tell yourself you can look at me up close. the carnage,
and the tenderness vomited from its mouth. there is
a strange grief inside you and you don’t know how
to free it from your ribs. there was a grief inside me,
and it spills an ocean on this asphalt.
Wanda Deglane is a night-blooming desert flower from Arizona. She is the daughter of Peruvian immigrants and attends Arizona State University. Her poetry has been published or forthcoming from Rust + Moth, Glass Poetry, Drunk Monkeys, and Yes Poetry, among other lovely places. Wanda is the author of Rainlily (2018), Lady Saturn (Rhythm & Bones, 2019), Venus in Bloom (Porkbelly Press, 2019), and Bittersweet (Vegetarian Alcoholic Press, 2019).
Photo: Chris Slupski
I ask a friend if she can remember the last time that the stars and moon hatched from a golden egg. She doesn’t answer straightaway, just tucks a stray comma of hair back behind her ear. Because it’s one in the morning, the darkness outside is more like a solid than a liquid or a gas. I’m suddenly really tired of struggling to stay awake. The answer comes later, when I read in the paper that they sliced open a dead whale that had washed ashore and found in its belly plastic cups, plastic bottles, plastic bags, and two flip-flops.
Howie Good is the author of The Titanic Sails at Dawn (Alien Buddha Press, 2019)
Photo: Edu Lauton
Nathan Elias is the author of the chapbooks A Myriad of Roads That Lead to Here: A Novelette and Glass City Blues: Poems. He holds an MFA in Creative Writing (Fiction) from Antioch University Los Angeles, and he has served as editor on the literary journal Lunch Ticket. His work has appeared in Entropy, PANK, Hobart, Barnstorm, and elsewhere. His films and screenplays have been official selections or finalists in festivals such as Cannes Court Métrage, Glass City Film Festival, Canadian Film Centre, Texas Independent Film Festival, and both Hollywood and New York Screenplay Contests. He has taught a variety of creative writing classes, including fiction, poetry, and screenwriting. | www.Nathan-Elias.com | @_NathanElias
Photo: Meriç Tuna
After Claire C. Holland’s “Thomasin”
Dead roots from an infertile farmland
wither all around her
She is the only sprouting thing for miles
in this muted abandoned wood
Her ripening lips wish for stained glass,
butter, and a pretty dress
She left her heart in an established
country across the sea, unwilling
pilgrim bound by a parent’s faith
She shivers as an outcast, unsnared traps
leave her stomach broken, the whisper of
the dark side growing louder. Kill the roots,
they say. Kill the roots.
December Lace is a former professional wrestler and pinup model from Chicago. She has appeared in The Chicago Tribune, The Molotov Cocktail, Pussy Magic Lit, The Cabinet of Heed, Awkward Mermaid, Vamp Cat, and Rhythm & Bones YANYR Anthology, among others. She loves Batman, burlesque, cats, and horror movies.
Photo: Meriç Tuna
i run into wolves running
into me into mirrors into
switchbacks into endless
forests along endless rivers
i run into wolves running
into walls into hiding into
rebirth into fires in rooms
that they may not ever find
i run into wolves running
into death into memory
into the precision of a
scalpel into the western west
and therein i die and i die
and i run and i die and i
see it there on the shelves
the dust attracted to the
light like moths attracted
to fire like wolves attracted
to movement to packs to
new mentality until they too
die. and i too die. and if
not now then when and
if not now then when?
we are ghosts. then when?
ghost #13 is something something something. they are from somewhere, sometime. this one is dedicated to someone someone, another ghost, i’m sure.
Photo: Ruslan Bardash
he pressed seed to soil,
convinced that force could yield to growth.
the earth does not spit out
the beginning of your becoming.
for this, she is a true mother.
nurturing despite herself,
a sacrifice you are indebted to.
the burden of a seedling
in tough soil. of plants
born in desert sand.
what it’s like to grow
in a hostile womb,
suspicious of all things
padded for protection.
you are born
when the sun is at its height
cruel and unforgiving in exposure
of the elements.
tries to shade you,
you conjure when evoking
your father, an abandoned wind
lining the crowns of trees.
he speaks in metaphors
and you respond with poetry.
but language eludes you,
a longing lingers between
tongue and desire.
you search for roots
the potential of recognition
your family’s vines
of the first rejection.
the initial fortification
of want without resolve.
a petrified foundation,
the past is porous
and swelling with decay.
but instead of dying takes
another form. molded
in stone, a fossil
imbued with traces
of recorded history.
Cassidy Scanlon is a queer writer, Capricorn, and astrologer who received her BFA in Creative Writing from Chapman University. Her work has been featured in L’Éphémère Review, Loaf Mag, and WITCH. She writes about astrology on her blog Mercurial Musings and is a regular contributor to rose quartz magazine. You can follow her on Twitter @sassidysucklon.
Photo: Brent Cox