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BURNING HOUSE PRESS

Not For Profit/For Prophecy

“Close Encounters of the Second Kind” by Phillip Spotswood

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Art by Moriah M. Mylod

I’ve been circling lakeside for years

   

    cypress knees are fine    fine        thought 

    they were a breathing mechanism, but recently 

    researched into support        marginal buttress

    more waist-high concealment 

 

Every loop a filmed apocalypse held

the length of a lizard’s tail

easy to detach

I’m     sprung aloof 

 

By the end, memory is        abandoned 

                    & I’m still speechless

        swaddled in a thicker gunk called glow

        say gray diligence 

 

                                    Nothing emerges

                                    from perfect repetition    the loop

                                    devours all possibility, gurgling 

                                    warm at the center    everyone still

                                    blank where I left them 

 

Here I am, laying out the longest 

waiting room – red carpet gone to sun-bleach

 

I watch the lake for displacement, 

though I’m not sure anything can live 

in a constructed hollow;

fishers line the sides, though I’ve never seen them move            a 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

fastening fissures 

 

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.

“Voyeurs: After Viewing Picasso’s Le Reve” by Mare Leonard

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Art by Moriah M. Mylod 

on canvas she’s shaped like an Easter egg

in life she’s young and sexy

Marie-Therese at 17

                        wakes from an erotic dream

                        moves her fingers

                        over and under her body

we watch Marie Therese

shift  see her

eyes close   her hips lift

                        she spreads out on a divan

                        she stretches over the canvas

                        we hear lullabies

                         sweet Marie sweet

he rocks the egg

he moves his brush

Picasso’s soft touch

shakes her yearnings

                               she rolls into life

                               far from Pablo’s hands

 

 

Mare Leonard’s latest chapbook was published in 2018 at Finishing Line Press, The Dark Inside My Hooded Coat. 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

“You Were Once Girl” by Kristin Garth

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Art by Moriah M. Mylod

they make a receptacle of pins — 

pale proxy still proximate to him, palmist 

whom they proffer pathology (absent

middle finger valleys mean they’re ruthless)

these cunning folk he sends away, to your

village, though you’re allowed to stay behind 

stone parapets in plaits, a veil demure,

a pupil with a higher left heart line 

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

 

“An Ethereal Tethering” by Stephen Wack

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Art by Moriah M. Mylod

 

. . . 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.

“Every Room Whispers Itself into Your Ear” by Juliet Cook

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Art by Moriah M. Mylod

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.

“Roadblock/Family Curses” by Jessie Janeshek

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Art by Moriah M. Mylod

blood-red nails        tiny ferns    or creek-side bloodletting

    he swears rain is coming

and, oh yeah, she’s pregnant

    and they name all their kids    after each other

    ink changing color, blend in

and their defense is to present me

            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 futuristic        but I’m cloyingly nostalgic

    well-read in the gothic        abandoning

the conga line of bleached blondes    to forcefeed the dying cat

        Christmas crackers and charades

and wink if it’s a murder    plaid 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 hers    but I’m not starving you

    in my smart suit    in 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 summer    a middy dress play

    fat caterwauls

so even when her coat’s shiny        I 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.

2 Poems by Dhiyanah Hassan

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Art by Moriah M. Mylod

 

The Electric Keyboard Dreams

 

I take the notes out, I take the sounds away.

This is how I unravel the piano player.

When I let her fingers travel me, 

The treble clef trembles.

The bass weeps for the silence

Descending between

One scale and the next —

 

And this is how I’ll play,

This is how I play.

 

Heavy ghosts pour down,

The swimming pool’s full.

Gelatinous grubs wriggling myopic war dance.

The drum behind the keys

Throbbing against the head of a child.

Piano player with a guillotine

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

 

asleep 

in every child’s unheard

shriek.

 

 

°•○●□°•○●□¤°

 

 

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

 

“Doors” by Lucy Whitehead

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Art by Moriah M. Mylod

the planchette spirals out 

of control      a giant dog howls 

in the coffee reading cracks

shadows swirl in the crystal 

ball      all the tarot cards are blank

 

the runes have shattered

the mirrors broken

the petals I burnt with our names 

come back      dead moths fly 

through the dollhouse windows 

white eyes flutter

in the palms of your hands

 

the moon has dimmed

the dolls are awake

your crystal pendulum

catches fire      the divining

coins land on their edges

the scrying bowl opens 

to an infinite well

 

the threads unwind

the trees are yawning

a light is shining 

from a split in the yew

tonight is the night

now is the time

this is the place where 

 

the souls pour through

 

 

 

 

 

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.

“Blind Devotion” by Nick Quaglietta

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Art by Moriah M. Mylod

All crowd in the church-

A lifetime of suffering

For the sake of gossip.

 

Found poem, remix technique.

Source text: Pike, Christopher. Falling Into Darkness. New York: Pocket Books, 1990.

 

Blind Devotion

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.

“in the house of my body” by Mela Blust

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Art by Moriah M. Mylod

 

in the house of my body the light is mostly low

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.

She is Head Publicist and Social Media Manager for Animal Heart Press, and a contributing editor for Barren Magazine.

She can be followed at https://twitter.com/melablust.

“Moonlight Part 2” and “Her Will” by Mark Allen Jenkins

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Art by Moriah M. Mylod

 

Moonlight Part 2

 

The moonlit hills,     silvery sentinels

guarding    the silent

desert.     The jagged

mine         mouth,    a black 

hole         into         twilight 

zone

 

Tim’s voice changed, 

pitch higher.

 

When I hurt 

my hand     in the mine,    something

remarkable     got         under

my skin        something

        begun         to change

     me             for better

        I know it is connected to a great plan

set in motion         billions    years

ago                 out        among stars

 

there is substance        in this mine

allows a human             change from mortal into a god       

I am being                transformed

into a creature            of the universe

 

What do you think?

 

I think you need to go back to the hospital 

 

This is a found poem. Source: Pike, Christopher. Hollow Skull. Hodder, 1998. Page 75

 

Her will

 

Transformation    inevitable 

   

She has grown        great

now,             difficult 

with words 

 

cooperate for 

your         own        sake

 

you’ll understand 

everything soon

 

head    slurped     back

she saw stars        grin

demons

 

 

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.

2 Poems by Mauricio Montiel Figueiras

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Art of Moriah M. Mylod

“Out Come the Ghosts”

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.

“Song for Swan Elias” by Danielle Notaro

065
Art of Moriah M. Mylod

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.   

 

NOVEMBER 2019 Guest Editor Is MAUVE PERLE TAHAT!!! Theme: NO MACHINE WITHOUT A GHOST

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.

MAUVE‘S theme/s for the month are as follows

NO MACHINE WITHOUT A GHOST

Continue reading “NOVEMBER 2019 Guest Editor Is MAUVE PERLE TAHAT!!! Theme: NO MACHINE WITHOUT A GHOST”

SIGNALLING THROUGH THE FLAMES EDITION OCTOBER 2019 GUEST EDITED/CURATED BY Johannes Göransson

SIGNALLING THROUGH THE FLAMES EDITION OCTOBER 2019 GUEST EDITED/CURATED BY Johannes Göransson

Continue reading “SIGNALLING THROUGH THE FLAMES EDITION OCTOBER 2019 GUEST EDITED/CURATED BY Johannes Göransson”

from “Berlin Interlude” by María Negroni (trans. Michelle Gil-Montero

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 HellThe 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.


Art by Leif Holmstrand, from “Holy Helpers.”

5 poems from SW by Lara Glenum

ALLOWANCE

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


*


UNEXPECTED GUEST


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.



*


“Grave Piss Manifesto” by CJ Waterman

Grave Piss Manifesto

Let me reiterate my repugnance

& 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 & damnit

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

beat

& hearts should explode

& when incapable of taking in

the birdsong of ambient affections

blockages become prevailing wind.

Blowback unlimited

& I like to sunbathe in the puddles formed.

Sewerage is my favorite suntan lotion.

Daddy slathered hatred hightails it for the heavens when I try to attract it.

Daddy escapes atonement & speaking of skeletons

I can’t find a speck of soul to interrogate

nor an inkling of remorse to extend to projector

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 disparagement

& 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 & get undressed.

Philharmonic harmonizing & the invisible din thud squeal

& the imaginings of mourning that must’ve been farcical

with snotty tissues balled up & volleyed

off a coffin I’m disinvited from viewing

despite my disinterest

& my morbid commitment to dignity.

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. 

3 Poems by Lisa Marie Basile

i

The church fills

                   with what will never leave me. Men here

         say they want to live, and then they die.

It is seven in the evening

         and it is forever, a tulip forever shaped

                  of its wilt.

My mother is the soil,

                  our lives the garden. And I am the rain.

         Remember that.

What I am is still in strange rooms — a decayed

         girl with black hair, cherry nails,

a small girl who speaks in tongues

         to the god in the rafters, to the death

in her palms. My mother spoke

         at the podium and the birds flew overhead.

She is at the atonement stage,

                  and I am a budding rose whose friends are serpents.

Have you ever seen so much sickness

         the rest of the world appears as an oil painting?

Have you ever watched the summer

                  meet a mother at her place of grief —

alight 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 children’s hands.

I am 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 the earth

and its forests fucked and fired.

How I was lush once, too, as the earth. And then the embers.

My mother will remain small when this is all over.

         And I will remain small too. Our gardens undead.

I am an orphan under the table shaped as a dog. Loss is a child

         whose house has been swallowed by vines,

who has 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. 

We are always in houses, in churches, in gardens

         waiting. For eviction. For custody. For the seed.

Orphans at night, my body and me, we dial mother, are you there?

         We build a fort of prayer. We grow wings in the soil.




ii

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.


iii

This 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.”

from “Myself the Photograph Pt. 2” by m.forajter

from Myself the Photograph (pt. 2)




numinous like a cloud,

like the flat matte painting of the sky,

oh god, i lack

the vision to see deeper.





BANG, BANG, BANG.





my star & left arm

this desolate, irradiated planet

the green glow

folded into cake batter

houses & chairs, kitchen crumbs

plates, water

is this

existential dread

or lead poisoning

 wired, wired








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

REPEATED:

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 address?



In my notebook, unsent:

Dear X,

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 SkyCourt GreenQueen Mob’s Tea HouseLuna 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.

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