fishers line the sides, though I’ve never seen them movea landscape
I can’t totally trust
because I keep coming back
Recently, objects have been vanishing, or simply
giving up the ruse
cattails reared in absence
nimble false bearings
There’s a stranger yet to arrive – summoned back to me;
We’ll shake hands, I’ll ask where they’ve been, though I know the answer
I’ve only ever emulated the business of obfuscation
What is the opposite of water displacement? When a thing erupts from deep volume?
The belief is there, but in practice I’m another statue sweat
Nobody has fallen from the sky in years
Phil Spotswood is a poet from Alabama, and a PhD Creative Writing student at Illinois State University. His most recent work can be found in baest, The Wanderer, and Tagvverk. He is the recipient of the 2018 Robert Penn Warren MFA Poetry Thesis Award judged by Tonya Foster, and the 2017 William Jay Smith MFA Poetry Award judged by Daniel Borzutzky. He tweets @biometrash.
Mare Leonard’s latest chapbook was published in 2018 at Finishing Line Press, The Dark Inside My HoodedCoat. Read some reviews on her face book page: Mare Leonard Poet and Teacher and send a message with comments and if you would like a copy. She is also searching for home for a chapbook of ekphrastic poems
deemed pure. Sequestered, then you feel the sting,
the first of countless cuts. No one is there
besides the chiromancer, your shrieking.
He asks if one of them did braid your hair.
It was the elder, her ominous palms recalled.
You were once girl they make a voodoo doll.
Kristin Garth is a Pushcart, Best of the Net & Rhysling nominated sonnet stalker. Her sonnets have stalked journals like Glass, Yes, Five:2:One, Luna Luna and more. She is the author of fourteen books of poetry including Pink Plastic House (Maverick Duck Press), Candy Cigarette Womanchild Noir (The Hedgehog Poetry Press), the forthcoming Flutter: Southern Gothic Fever Dream (TwistiT Press), The Meadow (APEP Publications) and Shut Your Eyes, Succubi (Maverick Duck). Follow her on Twitter: (@lolaandjolie) and her website http://kristingarth.com
. . . something about a man and his dog (in the grand, non-linear scheme of reincarnation) as being one in the same. Soul, that is. Ethereal transient dweller, is another. Here now, there they are: Situated between two distinct, bloody meat husks, between two separate states of existent being — at once, under one roof, simultaneously — with one foot in man, the other, a dachshund-terrier mix.
. . . is comprised of both end and endless, singular and infinite, of omniscient oblivion, bright-dark heavy-light, of both shape and void, each with their own distinct name. As a man: Brandon. In dog form, she is Mocha, among countless others (i.e., Mochi, Mookie, Monkey, Chunky, Chubbers, Chunkmonster. . . ). As mutual entity, root identity, as timeless core incarnate, a loose translation: Daielaareux.
. . . will spend seven months at the shelter, gone unadopted longer than any other dog, before rejoining herself again. Meanwhile, she cries her jaw off. Starves herself down to a coffee-boned silhouette. Even draws blood from the hand of a guileless child, to make clear the message: I will never be yours. She waits patiently for what she already knows will eventually be.
. . . remembers what, on pure impulse, will drive him to the shelter in this manic grasping for purpose, going on six days without medication. He will come upon himself, caged separate. His ovaries scooped clean. Groggy with shots to keep him quiet, stagnant, alive. Not even finding himself to be particularly cute, or unique, or enthralling, yet feeling instantly connected, just the same. Might he’ve recognized then, in those muted eyes, himself? She knows the next years ahead of them together will be nothing so glorious — that they are in no way ready or responsible enough to take adequate care of themselves. They will ingest things that will make them violently ill. They will be too poor, too careless, to seek medical help. Will endure vast chunks of boredom, chewing holes through themselves, incapable to leave the house. Will watch themselves from the foot of the bed sulk and rot away for days on end, treading the grey wash of their skull, directionless, besides down. Will be the only life force to keep them afloat, strong enough to pull themselves upwards, and eventually, out.
. . . yanks on their leash in unruly directions, and, out of sheer spite, he tugs them back the opposite way. Each will struggle to tell themselves what to do. He instructs her to obey: Sit. Heel. Eat. Fetch. Up on the couch. Now, off. But she refuses to listen. Years later, their heart crushed by a lasting love, lost — the one who used to (she now learns) smack them in private, but still loves her, despite the abuse — two months out, having still not washed the pillows or sheets, incubated with the tortuous scent of their ex’s shampoo, she has no other choice than to piss on the bed. She instructs him to: Be calm. Go for a walk. Know your self-worth. Move on. But he refuses to listen. He tells himself: No. He calls herself: Bad girl. They scream as themselves: Shut up shut up shut up.
. . . Daielaareux, in countless other forms: A bridge in New Zealand. A strip mall in Detroit. An unbuttered croissant. A great big pile of leaves. A spanned lineage of prehistoric, neon-colored crabs. A comfortable silence. An impossible dream. The 37th Annual Miss America pageant. A one-hit wonder. An impotent king. A fortuitous accident, recognized only in hindsight. The Divine Mouth taking the earth like a vitamin. A newborn horse’s first step. Another one biting the dust.
. . . forever amounts to, returns back to, self-love.
. . . just seconds before the New Year, 2018. Time hibernates. Thoughts shuffle like a deck of cards. Head loud. Skull turned inside out on psychedelics. A blubbery, sunken, self-contained mess of fleshy slop packed inside a transient shell. A dark stain on the carpet, on a mother’s pelvic floor. He rushes to the bathroom, convinced an empty bladder will cure him. It does, then doesn’t. Grime sits in every wrinkle. Gravity’s tandem held hand lets go. The universe’s veil pulled down like a shower curtain, their many forms spilling out over the linoleum floor. On their knees, hands, back, she perches on his chest and he catches it — a quick glimpse, the uncanny resemblance, atoms stacked like dodged shoved in a cage. He holds herself behind the ears, kisses himself on their wet, hot stinking teeth. Noticing it fully, this tethering between them — an ethereal cord, conjoined. He she they them are all was once will have had we become continuous as one day slips seamlessly into the next without a clock, as the crackling bursts of fireworks resound from outside, at last. They have made it, for now.
. . . in the same windowed timeline, will cease just as abruptly as its start: The man, at the tender age of fifty-six, from an untreated pulmonary obstruction; as a dog, age nine, a pack of stale Oreos left accessible at the top of the trash. And yet, both still remain incapable of saving each other, themselves, from what must be in order to happen again.
Stephen Wack is an Atlanta-based writer. He earned an undergraduate degree in Neuroscience from the University of Georgia, where he briefly interned at the college’s literary magazine, The Georgia Review. His work has previously appeared in Five:2:One, Rougarou, and Cleaver Magazine, and is forthcoming in The Hunger and New Flash Fiction Review.
In this diorama, an intermediary exists in between
the good and the bad, but it’s hard to tell the difference
and sometimes the forces combine.
This room is for the disobedient whores
to be stabbed and wrapped in plastic
and then placed in an ornamental circle.
In this room, tiny log shaped ornaments
sometimes change color
or shape or size to warn you
the next fire is about to begin.
In this room, someone will tell you she can cast a spell
in order to reveal who your real friends are,
but what if you find out you don’t have any real friends?
More broken hearts will sink under the ground.
More spells will turn your life invisible.
Everyone has their own interests at heart
to be rearranged into good, bad, evil, dead
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 www.JulietCook.weebly.com.
as a wild woman in red on fast horses out of our time
but I know every minute of every week
toward the moor or the seashore.
You say I’m futuristicbut I’m cloyingly nostalgic
well-read in the gothicabandoning
the conga line of bleached blondesto forcefeed the dying cat
Christmas crackers and charades
and wink if it’s a murderplaid pants and my father’s failed guillotine trick.
If you have time I’ll teach you stuffed with sweet pecans
otherwise you can look in the clear purse
with the blue gingham pocket for secrets
vampires haunting New England
and Vampira on late-nite TV.
I wear a wig like hersbut I’m not starving you
in my smart suitin my flowered shell
and all the good noirs take place by the Hollywood Bowl
a minute per page in the trick house we hear them
except the one where the girl falls off the boat
in her stolen furs
and you gut a dog to switch on your sex drive
and I waterski to our eroding island
sex twice in the summera middy dress play
so even when her coat’s shinyI won’t forget she’s dying.
I pray for an earlier night no matter what
I pray to come in the storm in a full-skirted green dress.
I’m saving it up for the riverbed chase scene
for the wasp-waisted Los Angeles rainbow
for the end is immortal/immoral
for the femme fatale exits unscathed.
Jessie Janeshek’s three full-length collections are MADCAP (Stalking Horse Press, 2019), The Shaky Phase (Stalking Horse Press, 2017) and Invisible Mink (Iris Press, 2010). Her chapbooks include Spanish Donkey/Pear of Anguish (Grey Book Press, 2016), Rah-Rah Nostalgia (dancing girl press, 2016), Supernoir (Grey Book Press, 2017), Auto-Harlow (Shirt Pocket Press, 2018), Hardscape (Reality Beach, forthcoming), and Channel U (Grey Book Press, forthcoming). Read more at jessiejaneshek.net.
for a voice. Squelching arteries. Shine the jugular,
Upside down the garments
Of the Sun. Right-side up now, Watching her light spill out.
And this is how I’ll play,
This is how I play.
She knows more than she can handle,
She knows more than me,
A girl-child child-self holding a program for the apocalypse.
She dreams of heaven every night she runs away.
She dreams of heaven every night she can’t run away.
And this is how I play,
And this is what we play —
A symphony the susurrus of ancient leaves,
Worn down by a million solar winds.
Spines lying bare at the mother’s feet,
the poetry slipping out her teeth.
Us lying awake — him reaching, she running, we becoming
little nothings, all over again. Smash the keys.
The stars shine, all over again.
The seas rumble, the F Sharp screaming
against D Minor’s weeping –
all overwhelming again.
Emptied bellies growing fangs, together
The kids gang up on the weather.
Heal the ice caps by melting their knees into hot tarmac.
No ancestral fevers now to wipe the ash of the world with,
Just these songs. Just these songs,
Sang into the hollowed-out trunk
Of a dead tree. A prophecy
constellated in the stars. Brightly now
the fingers of children
dreaming themselves alive
between arpeggios and wet bed sheets.
The planet’s heart strings
in every child’s unheard
A Strange Joke
Sometimes you bruise a fruit
To make sure it’s real.
The songs of plastic
Have nowhere to go
But back into the
The hollowed-out hearts of their
Price tags. A scratch on this orchid
Won’t release the same
Geometry into the air
The form of bliss, the shape of scent.
The sugars in these melons
Won’t attract ants, not even in decay
Will they be squashed. If not for the
Fire the winds wouldn’t sing
Through them. She told me, “Here,
This flower, token of our
Love, look. It won’t ever die.” She placed it
in a vase full of water, a strange joke. Alone, I said,
“But it smells like nothing. Can we really
Call it love without ever having breathed life
Into it, without having gardened
Through debris and detriment, building from nothing
The roots needed to feed
The stories we shape – or is this enough,
A slide across the screen, the slippery
Borders between attraction and rejection,
Handing our love over to the anxiety
That nothing here was built to last past
The twenty-first century, so why should we ever
Get real flowers for each other? Why should
Anything living be kissed
into the lonely water of the flower vase,
To grow old, to wrinkle up and dry,
To die. Why risk it,
When all our foods have turned
More lifeless than stone?”
I want to be fed by the heat
That comes from fears overridden not
By staying somewhere in the middle,
Draining the feelings out of every sentence. I want
To be a vessel for the kind of dreams
That grow through even the worst decay —
But she never heard a word I said
As she sunk her head back into a pixelated wall
Further away than I could see. And that
Was the last I heard of her, for my phone never
Rang again. The apps stopped their pulsing for my attention
After I drowned the old thing in sugar and spice
And everything nice. The ants cling desperately
To the floor, the vacuum cleaner we bought
Isn’t strong enough to clear out
All this rot.
Dhiyanah Hassan is an artist, writer, and energy worker whose practice explores the relationships between art, storytelling, and healing. Her work seeks to connect the soul and soil of the internal worlds orbiting within us, finding transformative expressions of the wild, the mystical, and miraculous through artistic and multidisciplinary mediums, facilitating spaces and conversations where creativity is utilized as a catalyst for healing and trauma recovery. Dhiyanah’s poetry has appeared in sister-hood, OCCULUM, and Rambutan Literary. Website: http://www.bydhiyanah.com
Lucy Whitehead writes haiku and poetry. Her haiku have appeared in various international journals and anthologies and her poetry has been published or is forthcoming in Amethyst Review, Anti-Heroin Chic, Barren Magazine, Black Bough Poetry, Burning House Press, Collective Unrest, Electric Moon Magazine, Ghost City Review, Mookychick Magazine, Neon Mariposa Magazine, Pink Plastic House, Pussy Magic, Re-side, and Twist in Time Magazine. You can find her on Twitter @blueirispoetry.
Source text: Pike, Christopher. Falling Into Darkness. New York: Pocket Books, 1990.
Nick Quaglietta began writing poetry as a teenager, with his first work in print appearing in his 1985 college yearbook. More recently he has become affiliated with a few local writing groups, including Connect and Heal in Chandler, Arizona.
the rooms filled with ghosts performing an orchestra
of sorrow about all the broken glass
once, in high school, a girl i had never talked to
taught me how she held her breath until she passed out.
“after the light goes dim, you don’t remember anything.”
in the rooms of my body i wander, shuffling papers into
boxes made of songs i can’t always remember the words to
because i held my breath so many times
once a man held my balled-up fist in his own and
compared it to the size of the human heart. i noticed
how he held them both and i could breathe
in the cathedral of my body undulating rays of light
spell hope on the cracked facade and sometimes
i remember the words to every song
Mela Blust is a Pushcart Prize and three time Best of the Net nominee, and has appeared or is forthcoming in The Bitter Oleander, Rust+Moth, The Nassau Review, The Sierra Nevada Review, South Florida Poetry Journal, Collective Unrest, and many more.
Her debut poetry collection, Skeleton Parade, is available with Apep Publications.
This is a found poem. Source: Pike, Christopher. Hollow Skull. Hodder, 1998. Page 75
She has grown great
head slurped back
she saw starsgrin
This is a found poem. Source: Pike, Christopher. Hollow Skull. Hoddler, 1998. Page 76.
Originally from the hilly corner of Ohio, Mark Allen Jenkins’s poetry has appeared in Memorious, minnesota review, South Dakota Review, Every River on Earth: Writing from Appalachian Ohio, and Gargoyle. He recently completed a PhD in Humanities from the University of Texas at Dallas and currently teaches in Houston.
The ghost of Guillaume Apollinaire writes on the walls of dilapidated buildings. His calligrams get lost amidst the strangest graffiti.
The ghost of Jane Austen wanders through the Roman baths at Bath. In the steam of time she glimpses people that fall in and out of love.
The ghost of J.G. Ballard watches airplanes coming in and out of Heathrow Airport. In the names of airlines he discerns a secret code.
The ghost of Roland Barthes writes love letters without recipient. He tears them into pieces in order to keep only certain fragments.
The ghost of Charles Baudelaire keeps on hiding from his creditors. He moves from loft to loft when he sees dust dancing in the sun.
The ghost of Felice Bauer likes to take long walks through empty streets. She wears a pair of small boots wet by the August rain.
The ghost of Samuel Beckett keeps looking for crossroads. In each one he sits down to wait for who knows what while he examines stones.
The ghost of Roberto Bolaño works at a closed down detective agency. He goes thoroughly through the files of all unsolved cases.
The ghost of Jorge Luis Borges walks up and down the corridors of enormous libraries. He looks for an encyclopaedia that describes the limbo he lives in.
The ghost of André Breton wanders slowly through flea markets. He searches for uneven objects to marry them in dreamy ceremonies.
The ghost of Max Brod rescues papers that are thrown into the fire. He reads them all trying to find the signs of a masterpiece.
The ghost of Italo Calvino hunts for old maps. With soft, deft fingers he draws new cities on top of beautiful ancient metropolis.
The ghost of Albert Camus goes to bars to watch soccer games. The screaming passion of the patrons makes him smile with nostalgia.
The ghost of Raymond Chandler takes advantage of the happy hour at melancholic bars. He orders gimlets even if they come in empty glasses.
The ghost of Agatha Christie specializes in tasting poisons. She writes down her opinions in a small notebook bound in the nineteenth century.
The ghost of Arthur Conan Doyle designs nets for hunting fairies. He tests them in ancient forests where silence is the one and only king.
The ghost of Julio Cortázar smokes blond tobacco by the side of the Seine. In the flow of the river he glimpses the hair of suicidal women.
The ghost of Simone de Beauvoir sits in her usual chair at the café Les Deux Magots. She flips through a book with only blank pages.
The ghost of Gérard de Nerval takes his lobster out for a walk when the day dies. Amidst the shadows the red pet keeps changing form.
The ghost of Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa likes to go to seafood restaurants. He gets drunk on the different smells from the sea.
The ghost of Charles Dickens writes long love letters to the ghost of Ellen Ternan. He trusts in certain birds to deliver them.
The ghost of Marguerite Duras writes on a bench in a park covered with dry leaves. Her ideas materialize in Chinese characters.
The ghost of Sigmund Freud dusts his divan every afternoon. He sits on a chair in silent wait for a patient to knock gently at his door.
The ghost of Gabriel García Márquez stops beneath a storm of yellow butterflies. In the distance he sees the immortal glow of ice.
The ghost of Patricia Highsmith distrusts the calm of Switzerland. In the boats that cross the lakes she sees bloodstains.
The ghost of Christopher Hitchens argues against the existence of God. His audience are paintings of different divinities.
The ghost of Henry James explores vacant mansions. He calls dead children and servants by their names to keep him company.
The ghost of Milena Jesenská picks up letters from empty buildings. She looks for love stories hidden between the lines.
The ghost of James Joyce wanders lost through the streets of Dublin. He looks for guides that show the way to Molly Bloom.
The ghost of Franz Kafka hates insecticides. He tells himself that nobody knows which metamorphoses the night will bring.
The ghost of Pier Paolo Pasolini drives a silver convertible. He takes off his dark glasses to admire handsome young men smiling.
The ghost of Cesare Pavese haunts the house where Constance Dowling died. He keeps looking for the eyes of the actress.
“The Dead Sailors”
[A ghost story in 20 tweets]
1. The old port groans at midday. Dead sailors come out to watch the sun strike the waves. Eyes full of longing salt and terrible dreams.
2. Dead sailors get drunk on air and stale beer. Hands following routes drawn on forgotten maps. Voices hoarse with nostalgia and foam.
3. Dead sailors wait for the swirling mist to rise. “Something’s coming,” they whisper among themselves. Skin crawling with anticipation.
4. Dead sailors stare at a broken moon. Hoping it would give them a subject to speak of. Mouths agape with a thousand words unsaid.
5. Dead sailors dream of being alone at night. Dark waters around them like cold blankets. Fireflies swimming through the enormous silence.
6. Dead sailors walk slightly hunched over. Carrying the weight of gigantic invisible ships. Feet leaving prints full of muddy water.
7. Dead sailors usually get moonburned. Skin crawling under the light of a million distant stars. Air full of stinging bees of freshness.
8. Dead sailors like to read bedtime stories to themselves. Childhood memories shimmering in the shadows. Words floating like dark pollen.
9. Dead sailors pray for rain. Looking for dark, heavy clouds inside themselves. Palms turned up in order to feel drops caressing them.
10. Dead sailors watch the sun rise over the sea. Old songs pouring from their parched lips. Eyes blinking against the first light of the world.
11. Dead sailors collect messages in bottles. Never reading them but just staring at them. Hoping their content will be revealed in dreams.
12. Dead sailors have nightmares scorched by thirst. Waking up coughing in the middle of the night. Tongues filled with the taste of sand.
13. Dead sailors keep waiting for the flood. Hearts beating slowly in their sunken chests. The smell of imminent disaster in the air.
14. Dead sailors grow tired of staring at the ocean. Hands clutching rusty compasses and torn maps. Wind howling around them like a madman.
15. Dead sailors sing to attract sirens. Voices full of iodine and foam, longing and regret. Lyrics talking about forgotten languages.
16. Dead sailors bathe in moonlight. Hands massaging tired arms and feet. Ancient beads of sweat glistening like perfect diamonds.
17. Dead sailors walk backwards. Hairs at the nape of their necks bristling with fear. Distant footsteps getting closer and closer.
18. Dead sailors listen to old radio tunes. Ears pricked up to catch trembling voices of ancestors lost at sea between bursts of static.
19. Go with the flow, dead sailors pray. May it take you far away from home. End of the air or end of the sea. Whatever comes first.
20. Who rules the deep blue sea? dead sailors sing. Amidst the waves, amidst the storms, amidst the rage. Who rides the chilled wide sea?
Mauricio Montiel Figueiras (Guadalajara, Mexico, 1968) is a writer of prose fiction and essays, as well as a poet, translator, editor and film and literary critic. His work has been published in magazines and newspapers in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Italy, Peru, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States. He has been Resident Writer for the Cheltenham Festival of Literature in England (2003) and The Bellagio Study and Conference Center in Italy (2008). In 2012 he was appointed Resident Writer for the prestigious Hawthornden Retreat for Writers in Scotland. Since 1995 he lives and works in Mexico City. Since 2011 he has been working on a Twitter novel, The Man in Tweed, in part through the account @LamujerdeM. Instagram: mauricio_montiel_figueiras.
There was a girl named Swan Elias. I don’t remember what grade she turned up in. She was overweight, nice and sweet, and had blue, cool blue eyes and light, wavy brown hair. I would watch her erase her paper. It seemed her hand and the eraser were made of the same textures, gummy soft. And warm. It seemed she could erase her paper or incorrect markings so effortlessly. Because there was, in my mind, this special oneness between her hand and the eraser. A certain chemical reaction which made the eraser really malleable.
Sometimes, when maybe I erased, I erased too hard and could leave a mark. A streak. But she could erase really cleanly. Leaving no tell-tale sign. Not that it mattered. We were allowed to erase. But it was a kind of magic she possessed and performed and for some mysterious reason it caught my attention. I would become transfixed and allured by her head turning toward me with what I now imagine to be a seductive and sweet smile while she worked her wonder. I wonder if she was doing something to my heart and mind in that moment. Hypnotizing me slowly, warmly, and softening my heart, relaxing my zaniness, and releasing my uncontrollable urge to please. It was like a you can be near me look she gave, and back off a little and watch. You can swim in my electrical, starspinning aura. All those things kids, we kids were attracted to. Sparkles, bangles, gold, magenta, azure, rainbow colors of glitter swirling in Swan Elias’ aura while she smiled at me. And I swirled with them. I was them for that moment and then would land in a pure stream of milky-colored happiness.
Blue eyes, plump, warm hand. Clean white paper. Pink eraser. Charcoal pencil shaped to a fine point. A cylindrical hive of possibility humming at the tip. A cylindrical hive of possibility humming into a fine point. Shavings and curls of shavings resting sweetly in a metal canister—future beehives. No, future bird nests. And I swear, I think Swan Elias wore a head band with birds and baby birds hatching from their nests. Her clothes are in my mind now brushed into a fine velvet. Everything was fine about her. Her sweat beads, her chewed lips. She was good enough to eat. I must have been in love with her, though I didn’t know it. Her big, strong marks of letters, cursive on her paper. Her wrong answers. All of it was acceptable to me. All of her. All of Swan Elias acceptable to me. Swan Elias and her golden heart.
Danielle Notaro grew up in Easton, Pennsylvania and has been writing, acting, & directing for a zillion years in the Lehigh Valley. She also taught acting & playwriting to kids in the Lehigh Valley as well in Boston where she studied acting with Reality Theater. She participated in several Les/Bi writing workshops. In NYC, she studied with Karen Malpede, Jean Claude Van Italie (Open Theater Playwrites) and at the Henry St. Settlement she studied with Crispin Larengeira. In Vermont she was in a longstanding writing workshop led by Cora Brooks. In 1982, she joined The Feminist Writer’s Guild and started a theater group, The Onsemble Theater. She has published poems in Women Spirit, Gaia, Womankind, Juxtaposition, Love Your Rebellion, Ovungue Siamo and written a few pieces for Healthy Living (a Rodale newsletter). She published her first book of poems and some prose in 2013 entitled, Limn the Mask. In 2019, she released a CD of pieces from her book w/ improv music entitled, Limn the Chord and won Outstanding Spoken Word Artist from the Lehigh Valley Music Awards.
Burning House Press are excited to welcome Mauve Perle Tahat as our NOVEMBER 2019 guest editor! As of today MAUVE will take over editorship of Burning House Press online for the full month of NOVEMBER.
Submissions are open from today – 1st NOVEMBER and will remain open until 23RD NOVEMBER.
Today is very long, with or without
a map, in its attempt at meaning. I didn’t dress up as a heroine or stop at
Hotel Eden. Nor did I disguise myself as a cyclist, or hail a taxi to the
revolution. Instead I buried myself like an object of adoration. (Befuddlement
sharpens intelligence.) There must be some way, I thought, to hear the canaries
of reality. Then, a reader walked by, and I went with him, simple as that, with
a zoom from the shaded area.
Hoy es un día larguísimo, con o sin mapa, en la intención del sentido. No me vestí de heroína ni visité el Hotel Edén. Tampoco me disfracé de ciclista ni fui a la revolución en taxi. En cambio, me dediqué a enterrarme como a un objeto adorable. (Desconcertada, la inteligencia aumenta.) Alguna forma ha de haber, pensé, de escuchar los canarios de la realidad. Después, pasó un lector a mi lado, y me fui con él, como si tal cosa, a un zoom de la zona oscura.
What a morning, this sadness! What a quiet cataclysm, this aspiration for a soul! Where are the living? No doubt, no worries, they weren’t sitting in the shadow of the laden journey and distinguished dust. I checked, but they weren’t there. Not even as they are not, extra clusters on the branches of time or nests too bare to notice in the room of the world. It’s me, I thought, the only intellectual object left. Nothing happened after that, except a light groan that blew and looked on.
Qué mañana esta tristeza! Qué cataclismo insonoro esta ambición de ser alma! ¿Dónde estarán los vivos? Sin duda y sin pena, no estaban en la sombra que hacían el distinguido polvo y el viaje con todo a cuestas. Me fijé bien y no estaban. Ni siquiera tal cual no son, racimos superfluos en las ramas del tiempo o nidos demasiado escuetos para notarse en la habitación del mundo. Soy yo, pensé, el único objeto intelectual que queda. Nada más pasó, salvo un leve quejido que sopló y veía.
Nervous, because I want but don’t, and on top of that, my weary heart. Taking three Aspirin won’t fix anything, won’t help me just be. It’s been so long since I’ve crossed that invisible lip between this place and the worldless. Like a caress that comes too late, writing is strung out and obsolete: correspondence to stake a place that at some point, maybe, will bear my name. Look in my empty hands. Tomorrow everything will start over: the disordered soul, the scandalous body stitched to lewd syllables, lunatic passions.
Nerviosa porque quiero pero no quiero, y además el corazón cansado. Tomar tres aspirinas no resuelve nada, no ayuda a simplemente ser. Hace tiempo que cruzo un labio invisible, entre aquí y ningún mundo. Como caricia que habrá llegado tarde, escribir es muy largo y obsoleto: una correspondencia para fijar un lugar que alguna vez, tal vez, tendrá mi nombre. Fíjense en mis manos vacías. Mañana empezará todo de nuevo, el desorden del alma, el escándalo del cuerpo cosido a sílabas profanas, a pasiones lunáticas.
A journey to where I’m awaited, at the very bottom of myself, by something I own. It’s not all that impossible. I only need to cling to my white box, the dead little house of language. Commencing, for once, moon expeditions around my room. Would a siege like that be any use? Chattels for walking in my own flesh and being reconnected? So many things can squeeze into the shadow: artist costumes, serial killers, the sheer duration of where. I feel more destitute than ever but anyway, this sky of skies where I play in silence, frail as I am, the lute of my music.
Un viaje a allí donde me espera, al fondo de mí misma, algo que poseo. No parece imposible. Debo insistir tan sólo en el casillero blanco, la pequeña casa muerta del lenguaje. Empezar, de una vez, la expedición de lunas alrededor de mi cuarto. ¿Asedio que me sea pródigo? ¿Enseres para andar carnal y ser reunida? Tantas cosas caben en la sombra: trajes de artista, asesinos seriales, la duración del adónde. Me siento más desprovista que nunca y aun así, este cielo de cielos donde resueno en silencio, cuan frágil soy, laúd de música mía.
It’s been many days, twenty years, that I’ve travelled north, and now I have insomnia that drags on from the day to the night of departure. Can some airplane ship me to consciousness? To this beast on the other side, locked in its four legs, between dozing institutions and the heart of the nation? Needles in the wind. Poetics split by fear. Abstract moon that asks for more more more.
Hace muchos días, veinte años, que viajo en dirección al norte y ahora tengo insomnio entre el día de partir y la noche de partir. ¿Qué avión podría llevarme a la conciencia? ¿A esta fiera del otro lado, encerrada a cuatro patas, entre instituciones que cansan y el corazón nacional? Agujas en el viento. Poética partida por el miedo. Abstracta luna que pide más y más y más.
Argentine poet and critic María Negroni is the author of twelve books of poetry, two novels and five collections of essays in Spanish. Works in English include Mouth of Hell, Dark Museum and The Annunciation (all translated by Michelle Gil-Montero, published by Action Books).
Michelle Gil-Montero is a poet, publisher and translator of contemporary avant-garde Latin American writing. She is the translator of Poetry After the Invention of America: Don’t Light the Flower by Andrés Ajens; Mouth of Hell, The Tango Lyrics, and The Annunciation by María Negroni; and This Blue Novel by Mexican poet Valerie Mejer Caso. She is the author of Attached Houses (Brooklyn Arts Press). She is the publisher of the translation press Eulalia Books.
Mommy Mommy Can I have a gun to shoot down the butchers of childhood I need my own cash to buy splooge grenades & lethal fireworks for rape holidays Mommy Why do you keep paying me bullets to the skull
THE ACID KWEEN
I’ve gone rancid In the boodlyjank At meat o’clock I expire My skin drags magnetic south My heart ulcers are full of poodles My scabbed scalp is a screamer My eyes buckle in the plop shop The whack of ages & I’m being chummed into a meat cloud Stank oceans roil Hell is a ripe daughter
A MAGYK TONIC FOR THE NERVES
So I drink the blood of virgins Who doesn’t That’s patriarchy for you Who am I to claim I’m on the outside So I’m a bottom-feeder So what Bottom’s up! only means one thing when there’s a boot on your neck
I take my cream hard I like my bloods stiff with deathswoon But that one who just rolled up is An annihilation I’m eye-fucking a marvel of a bucking young Prince at the height of his clit-shaking powers
A TASTE OF VICTORY
Nom Nom Her swiney thumper on a platter tickles my brittle flank My rank veins flash freak sugars My skin pinks My clit perks How now Magik Mirror
Lara Glenum is the author of The Hounds of No, Maximum Gaga and Pop Corpse! These poems are from SW, a restaging of Snow White.
& reify the ashen body so I might
piss on it in its entirety.
Dead dad died & all I got was
this lousy imaginary eulogy.
Dead dad died from diner food &
I want the heart heredity that
doesn’t risk giving out
in the heat of the night
jammed past the hilt.
Hearts should be bloody
& hearts should
& hearts should explode
& when incapable of taking in
the birdsong of ambient affections
blockages become prevailing wind.
& I like to sunbathe in the puddles
Sewerage is my favorite suntan
Daddy slathered hatred hightails it
for the heavens when I try to attract it.
Daddy escapes atonement & speaking
I can’t find a speck of soul to
nor an inkling of remorse to extend
when he’s all ground to powder
& it doesn’t even taste good
enough to season steak with.
I’m so hungry I could eat
& call it enough calories to get
through the day.
In my moment of duress at the news of
Dad’s eternal rest
I had nothing to do but laugh &
Philharmonic harmonizing & the
invisible din thud squeal
& the imaginings of mourning that
must’ve been farcical
with snotty tissues balled up &
off a coffin I’m disinvited from
despite my disinterest
& my morbid commitment to
I want dick for breakfast & dick
for lunch & dick for dinner.
So much dick that clouds part
& on my knees blessings
resounding & Gabriel’s horns screeching
Levi’s unzipping appear as fortuitous
angels in the sky.
I look up & Dad’s whinging
Never forget. The heathen bull
does not fuck other bulls. Balls
shouldn’t smack balls.
The earth trips off its axis in the presence of filth.
CJ Waterman is a writer living in Providence, RI. He holds a degree in literary arts from Brown University and an MFA in Poetry from Notre Dame. Other poems appear in Smoking Gluegun, Tarpaulin Sky, Similar Peaks and elsewhere. He is currently at work on a novel.
and I am a budding rose whose
friends are serpents.
ever seen so much sickness
the rest of the world appears as an oil
ever watched the summer
meet a mother at her place of
in the hum of vein-songs and apologies? I know what it means
to watch someone ask of a human what
they ask of god.
It is a wretchedness that happens in
still half-child. I am a half. I am the blood of the moon.
I am I love
you, I forgive you
but I will choke you. I am
forests fucked and fired.
was lush once, too, as the earth. And then the embers.
mother will remain small when this is all over.
And I will remain small too. Our
I am an
orphan under the table shaped as a dog. Loss is a child
whose house has been swallowed by
become the vine, whose heart is buried
within rooms in rooms in rooms where
flowers grow upside down so they are
beautiful only where no one sees.
always in houses, in churches, in gardens
waiting. For eviction. For custody. For
at night, my body and me, we dial mother, are you there?
We build a fort of prayer. We grow wings in the soil.
I will tell you the shadow. Its sound. Its plumage, and all the rest. I will only make a home my own when I have collapsed into it of utter need, that’s my glitch. I am addicted to houses that aren’t my own. I am pissing in the floor boards to stay somewhere forever. In its wreckage is a salvation in the shape of — what is it? The shape is me. I am my own territory. I miss the way the sky looked when I held food stamps in my hand. I know that sky, as a sister, though she is no longer mine. This is a poem that has done a badness to its twin. The other poem tries to say it all without saying it. Not now. This poem means the sky and says it. This poem means poverty and sings it. Can you feel the way I move through time? Can you feel my secret soiling you? That my body is perpetually there and now and now. I keep my rot hidden the way young things do, with that spectacular shame which becomes organ. I am a summer full of orphans, and then summer ended. All I know is in a dream my mother stood at the window and looked happy. It was long ago, but that is what I know.
shelter is built of secrets. Four floors in an ancient church where angels
hover within the walls. The windows speak ivy. Sometimes we think we see the
angel. We’re not wrong. I am 11 and I cut my ankles in the fourth floor
bathtub. I am shaving my darkness away while everyone else sleeps. A woman
excretes her addictions in ritual. Through the bottom of her door, sweat and
pale blood; my mother is somewhere in there holding white linen to her
forehead. Her kids will be too young to ever remember, but I will. I do. It’s
not about god here. It’s about something bigger. My blood smells of iron,
crying outward until it is almost pink, and then gone. I imagine this is what
everyone in every room feels. I weep so often in the communal spaces that other
women mother me. I am at church in their arms. Each woman a pariah; each
pariah, my chapel. My mother the pariah, my patron saint of vice. They braid my
hair in rooms of death. They make me pretty in kitchens of folk prayer and
yuca. My lipstick, donated. My clothes, donated. My body the ivy now, the ivy
handcuffed and medicated. The whole garden an in-patient waiting for light.
Sudden divinity sudden blood. Some of the angels die on route. Why don’t they
know this themselves, that we feed the earth with our pain? Today I avoid
too-small rooms. I like beds to be my own. I like to pretend I am another body
with the memories of a beautiful thing. But I am not a beautiful thing. I am
the daughter of the forgotten. I am the keeper of stories. I am the disciple of
rot and savior in a garden without a name.
Lisa Marie Basile is the founding creative director of Luna Luna Magazine, and is the author of a few poetry collections, including th recent Nympholepsy (Inside the Castle, 2018). Work has appeared in Spork Press, Atlas RevIew, New York Times, Narratively, Entropy, Catapult, Best American Experimental Writing, PANK, Best American Poetry, and more.
Artwork is from Leif Holmstrand’s series “Holy Helpers.”
You read Jill Magi, Bhanu Kapil, like visionary literature. Like something hermetic, harnessing weird psychic energy. The work of ghosts. Emily Dickinson. OKAY BUT I DON’T BELIEVE IN ANYTHING! I AM IN A CAVE IN THE DESERT, RENDING MY CLOTHES!
In my notebook is written in a descending column:
somatic → visible soul → insubstantial
essence mirroring the haunted body → contaminated by art → radical embodiment, hyper-corporeal→ DOG DIRT
EAT THE DIRT.
In my notebook, reeking:
I am desperate to be like you. I have
your photograph taped inside my dictionary. Do you have a favorite book? What
color is your pen? How do I receive a prism on my head? Are you pleased to read
my note? Wait— I haven’t sent it yet. Where’s my book? May I please have your
In my notebook, unsent:
Scorpions are leaking out of my blood. They are eating me alive. I am chained to the radiator.
m. forajter is a MFA graduate from Columbia College Chicago. Her work has been published in several magazines, including Tarpaulin Sky, Court Green, Queen Mob’s Tea House, Luna Luna, Petra and Witch Craft Magazine. Her chapbooks, WHITE DEER and Marmalade Girl, are available from dancing girl press. She really likes Nirvana, werewolves, and medieval art.