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.
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.
Deviating from the Bibliothèque Nationale’s original record, our newly transubstantiated Joan is lying on flagstones in the shape of a cross. Her body is too many voices. It’s amassed too many jeers from too many tormentors. It’s caught in the middle of a slow dissolve and she is kneeling before herself. Her soul is one divine intervention too many. I watch her lapping from a small stoup on all fours. I watch her brandish her perspiring head like an aspergillum. And when a surgeon enters the cell dressed like a blacksmith, I watch that too. I watch him operate with hammers. I see her body collapse. I see three soldiers insert a long straw between her legs and take turns to inflate her. Hear how they consider her equivocally gendered. How in reply she says how God has stood before her, and how the God she saw was trans, and how her sky is full of thirteen moons. She says, ‘At home I am called all the imagined saints.’ She says, ‘Here I am called possessed by the Devil.’ And the perceived blasphemy of her surgically reassigned Almighty upends the incels. And they turn green. And they turn greener. And they cover their ears. And she says, ‘I was born this child of nineteen, with short hair, dressed in boys’ clothes. I was born versed in the art of indecency. I was born martyred and full of tears. I was born inaudible to myself. My head crowned in thorns, in straw, in men made of straw. And I feel your odium but I bring you pity, for nobody loves the English, not even God, not even the English. Oh and tell me,’ she says, ‘do I have hair on my head? Did God shave me a tonsure right through to the brain? Do I have wings?’ And she curtsies for the court, bends over, offers the judges her judas. And they cannot help themselves as they cross-examine her colon. And a prelate in the prolapse is witness to a vision—of the crowning head of our Father so ignominiously reborn. And all the mendicant friars cannot force her into a gown. For she will not obscure the shameful costume of her body until the shame itself has gone. Until her being is no longer cosmetic, no longer insincere, no longer heresy. And to me? Me: sat genuflecting before all transfigured daughters of God. When I can’t even decide what socks to wear. When I’m in this heavenly light pulling worms out my ears. When I’m standing on tiptoe getting closer to God. And they feed her wafer to a dog. Until out the other end… and still all she can taste is the Eucharist. And she’ll cross herself, she says, until it draws blood. Until the judges warn her: ‘Raise your eyes to heaven again and we’ll cut them out.’ That if she doesn’t hold her tongue they’ll stick it with a fork. For how dare you be pretty and childlike and illiterate and destined for paradise. How dare you hum the absolution. How dare you eavesdrop on the salvation of your soul. Wherever her visions come from the torture chamber will cure them. And so she counts her broken fingers and they are as many as the days since her last confession. And she takes the Sacrament in increments, in punches to the face, in threats to drown her in the Seine. She dreams she drinks the eyes of God from every chalice, that her vanity is less tear-stained than her soul, her prayers less divine than her madness. She refuses again to foam at the mouth. O sancta simplicitas! And then they bleed her and the Y is upside down, like a middle finger. And they watch her sob in her sleep. But the witch is gone! Because she’s sharpening her nails on the flat stones of graves. Because she’s caking her face in consecrated mud. She’s blood-letting poisoned toads, and binding missals with their backs. She’s advancing on Rouen in Guerlain nails and glitter mesh Louboutin spikes. And so giddy is she in her expiated skin that she does not hear the inquisitor’s peroration: how this apostate is dancing with dancing bears, how she’s contorting with contortionists, and singing litanies with infidels, this idolatress, this monster, this agent of perverted Mass. And yet is man not too small a morsel to cover with so many kisses? And are our death beds not water beds? And do we not fill them from a holy spring? As our ascetics get fat. As our delusions become real. As our states of grace become ever more inelegant. Our glory infirm. And because all interrogations must conclude, it concludes. Albeit with some apophatic biology for a coda. Albeit inconclusively. And what foul irony to arrive at the stake for the abjuration of a phallus. And to burn there an exemplar for the intricacies of man. What ignominy! What comedy! What a voice thereafter calling for Jesus and screaming like a kettle whistle. The flames sounding like a prayer. Like the twelve articles of the Creed. Like a billion bifurcated tongues stuck to a hot plate. And the screen now her face, pressed flat against the window of heaven, struggling to breathe. And so she dies again. And so her body burns again. And so the executioner rakes the ashes and does not find her again. When even the heart is gone. Because it never came back. Because it remains in the river where it lives like a fish. Where it cannot be incinerated. Where God cannot see it. Where the hyenas cannot eat it. Where its chambers shun the light from any sky of any number of different moons.
Gary J. Shipley is the author of ten or so books, most recently 30 Fake Beheadings (Spork), Warewolff! (Hexus), and The Unyielding (Eraserhead). He has published in numerous magazines, journals, anthologies and academic journals. His monograph on Baudrillard is forthcoming from Anthem Press. More information can be found at Thek Prosthetics.
Dog skeleton//leashed to tree//bullet hole in head//I still hear the suffer// brambles sharp// trees red//dog blood//dog chained to tree or person bullet hole in head round as cigarette burn//dog or person chained to tree//bones scarred by beaks and teethings// body tightening //muscles drawing up// //coiled like copperheads//eastern land is filled with them//brutalized corpse// a person crippled to death//I still hear the suffer//agony is the pain before dying// the fear of burial is real//darkness is dark//in terror of night// animal blood sticky//animal blood all sticky//I woke up to blood// what graves were dug in sleeping?// I woke up to blood// Did I bleed?//I bled//I think I bled//A different smell than my own making// where did my hands go to thrum the edges of the earth?// a corpse I dream// the brutality of grieving//I dream a corpse I dream//corpses grow as if breeding//filling dream fully//skin chafes for love or hunger//skin grafted onto bark//spirt dead or charging higher//I woke up to blood// covered in loamy soil// smelling of alien earth//what graves were dug in sleeping?//rope on neck of dead//gutshot//crippled fluid//seeping grime//torsos purged// the cunt of a family//mother battered each baby head with ball peen hammer//curve of skull//shattered moon//maw of sun//childs skull//breach birthed to death//imagine the dead in your mind//burn victim is a victim//gauzed wrapped// like wedding veil//maggots dancing in the wound//burn victim is a victim//chained to tree//dog or person chained to tree//splinted to fear//I still hear the suffer//the world is wicked//the blood is hot//vermin cannibalize//vermin cannibalize my dreaming//I woke up to blood//smelled the ore of mining bodies//penetrated iron inside the skin//teeth cured in the red of it//I see faces//I see faces in all things//jawing scream in pocked stone//dense black of waves// jawing to hold hammer high//to bring it down between marbled eyes//of someone loved// picture wavers// blood moves//eyes cross//blood vibrates//picture wavers//embalmed// aura blooded//pollinating gore//fire will cleanse the terror clean//burnt duff of body//smoking like an ember//imagine the dead in your mind//I woke up to blood//I see the faces calling//to burn the tools// of what trade//I am not sure//The world is wicked//the blood hot// my eyes crossed//cataract in pain//imagine the dead inside your mind
* S.M.H is a writer. They have two books and two chapbooks out through VoidFront Press and a chapbook currently out from SelfFuck press. They live in the mid-atlantic.
All words sank
into space: gaps between sound where silence draws its first and slow breath
like closing portcullis—a blue-faced babe smothered with a blanket. From a
watchtower at the end of the desert, a clown lifted into fire. Satan licks the
blood of bees.
I do not believe
in human death, only the shattering of teeth: a pink skull exploded at noon—its
vertex reversed into red shards glowing with an inversion of heat sank back into
cold thought (blind and silver eels). Coldness
is my only religion.
I stole a
handkerchief of marbles from the marketplace and studied the wrinkles of
colour: yellow, blue and green suspended in glass. I counted ten eyeballs extracted
from the head of a poet tied to a billiard table—nerves torn like lightning
from his cloudless back.
This poem contains excerpts from “The Hollow Men” by TS Eliot , “Pour le (se ge te) CGT” by Rod Smith, and Kanye West referencing “Strange Fruit,” a poem by Abel Meeropol, which was also sang by by Billie Holiday and Nina Simone, and lastly, “paper plane” by M.I.A. Thank for listening.
WITH BANG BANG
the way the world ends
the way the world ends
the way the world ends
a bang but a whimper.
But I wanna go out
ALL OUT with BANG BANG
All I want is your body part
in my fucking body part
But I’m told planned parenthoods are selling
fetus parts now a days
The Summer Sale is here
and the town square is covered in body parts
Another town square is shot up & Forever
is the victims’ forever-age
My life is sold to the capitalism, exchanged
with paper currency
& I exchange my paper life
with the made-in-sweat-shop dresses
I am SOLD on the idea
that capitalism will always prevail
overthrow the government.
We are too tired…
My tired soul requires instant rejuvenation
My tired soul needs anti-aging cream
My tired soul needs a lipstick to brighten up
my ashy face
I just need a pick-me-up,
But I’m told I need to wait for the next SALE
the camera zooms into a man walking down the
in a suspicious manner
off-camera, the robot bomb goes BANG
& the concrete wall is spattered in
I see the blood on the leaves
I see the blood on the street
I see the blood on concrete
But the reality is too low resolution
& it’s buffering for like, forever
I see the blood on my hands…
I wanted to be part of the historical movement
But all I see is hashtag AVERAGE OUTRAGE
I wanted to change the world
But I’m told Lululemon changed the world
with their yoga pants
From the rooftops of the iphone factories
the workers fall like confetti
I wanted to be the salt of the earth
but all I’ve been doing is not going to the
during national holidays to avoid mass
I wanted to find a belief system I could
devote my life to
But all I see is collection baskets and BANG
I wanted to be at the pivotal moment of my
But all I see is
Bridal expos & I do I do
& All I want to do
BANG BANG BANG BANG
is to take your money.
I don’t want my death certificate to say
“death by consumption.”
Zan de Parry has been published variously in print and online, most recently Dostoevsky Wannabe’s Dundee, West Branch and BathHouse, and is forthcoming in Unsaid 8, TABLOID 13 and the chapbook HENNIE from Berlin-based Tabloid Press. He teaches poetry workshops in Lansdale public schools, is co-founder of KEITH LLC, and is at work translating Anatol Prasicky from the Ukrainian with Demyan Hryciw.
The photograph is from Leif Holmstrand’s “Holy Helpers” series.
in chillingly foggy swales of houseless brown liminexurban plains are rolling down over immediate horizons in every direction Nadia and I are meandering less toward a streetaddress than following a sensation in the air over the crumbling streets of Sannikov—virgin asphalt at the frontier of the navmesh servicearea—are turning in on themselves with involuting axes are shutting down vistas of unfurling asphalt with filterfabric of home facades, a person is standing inside the clumpiness of a nettle bosk dropping into hiding on their knees, although the most opportune packing of streets is simple arithmetic spiraling an additional consideration of the Sannikov masterplan is encouraging recursively unfolding sensations of discovery and possibility with forking recursions branching and branching into smaller and smaller deadend feeders—our missteps, although we perhaps are adjacent to our destination—the <<Payrite>> home, surprisingly few windows—we are kilometers of coiling roadsurface away from even the errant axillary axiom—initiator fork—, the Sannikov masterplan is not even topologically a spiral but is a labyrinthine vermicular meandering, a branching <<Lindenmayer system>> is producing cognitive disorientation & isolation & hopelessness, the persistence of terminality at empty homes, possibly, determination as to the actual emptiness of homes is difficult, the windows shining with the whiteness of the sky, a pouch of pottery smashing against the pavement, stalks of grass and nettles in muddy gardens grow the height of 2m, Nadia’s legs are wracking and bowing her feet turning over onto the ankles pulling me over with my arm under her armpit and attempting equilibrium with her travelcase swinging around in my other hand, fashioning a method of binding her arms together with my thin jacket and looping them around my neck with her chest bearing on my shoulder, we are going the wrong way, I’ve an acute awareness of this, the circuit is opening onto another recursion is branching toward the quality of light in the distant sky is opening and optimistic, the sensation of the sea lying just over the horizon, in each sideyard division between homes is the vista of more homes and
Paul Cunningham is from Pittsburgh, PA. From the Swedish, he is the translator of Helena Österlund’s Words (OOMPH! Press, 2019). He has also translated two chapbooks by Sara Tuss Efrik: Automanias Selected Poems (Goodmorning Menagerie, 2016) and The Night’s Belly (Toad Press, 2016). His creative and critical work has appeared in Kenyon Review, Quarterly West, Yalobusha Review, DIAGRAM, Bat City Review, and Omniverse. He edits Deluge, co-manages Radioactive Cloud, and co-founded the Yumfactory Reading Series. He is a Princeton INCH scholar, a PhD candidate at the University of Georgia, and he holds an MFA in Poetry from the University of Notre Dame.
In my day, I saw colors.
D: In my day, red was a color.
D: Thus red was mine to see.
SL: Try again.
D: Colors imply vision. Red is a color. Presto! My vision endures.
SL: You really must let the argument take hold of you.
D: Every sight I shadow. Redness is a sight. Therefore redness depends on my
SL: Colors soak in regardless. Red’s a color, so allow me to remove your
D: The redness becoming almost a texture cannot be worrisome because my
thoughts gain utmost dexterity.
SL: Let a thousand roses bloom. The cup now brimming with wine once stood
crimson in a kiln. So why not touch this burning coal to your lips?
Savino Oventile teaches English at Pasadena City College. He has published
interviews, essays, and book reviews in Postmodern
Culture, Jacket, symplokē,
and Chicago Quarterly Review, among
other journals. He is the author of Impossible
Reading: Idolatry and Diversity in Literature and of Satan’s Secret Daughters: The Muse as Daemon (both with the Davies
Sandy Florian was born in New York, New York, to parents of Colombian and Puerto Rican heritage and raised in Latin America. She now lives in Washington, DC. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing from Brown University and her PhD in English and Creative Writing from the University of Denver. She has taught Creative Writing at various institutions, most recently West Virginia University. Besides having published creative work in over fifty journals (including Gulf Coast, Indiana Review, New Orleans Review, and Bombay Gin), Florian is the author of Telescope (Action Books), The Tree of No (Action Books), Prelude to Air From Water (Elixir Press), On Wonderland & Waste (Sidebrow Press), and Boxing the Compass (Noemi Press in collaboration with Letras Latinas).
(damaged diadem, I shine encrusted in your splendors)
what remains to me of you but these few
crazy verses of tongue and strum.
What but to annul the orifices
the segregation of silence
to idolize the determination
to smear your contingency with interminable ceremonies
to love you, that is.
The tacit roaring still echoes between us
to love each other, did I say?
The problem is punctuation.
In quotation marks
I have you in quotation marks
or sometimes in parentheses I have you
What remains to me but
the machinations of a transpiration:
the voracity of a song’s burden perverts presages
disparages the sound’s august surfaces
the jingle falls through the declension of onomatopoeia
the obvious eats at the intricacies of the word,
The noises of a siesta
are like a siesta.
The word “indebted” was
one through crystallized
a song that murmured at my shoulders
it set my actions to music.
It never had sung, you’d say, it was the tone
in which my mother would name me
it never finished singing
it only would sing.
The father would cross women indexes with his annulling eye
it was the indicative mode for a maternal imperfect
everything occurs while
(you never say while)
your brother would read Pound at the top of his lungs
out in any night weather
and you would translate Cervantes, just in case.
His hand on yours
his book on your book and the poem
sowing itself here below.
I am holding onto the arches, the retching
we have passed through knowing that we would not reach
the golden anniversary
and this arch or retch prior to all devolution or vomit
and the totalling of our encounter
the buckings, the accountings
the points of view
the points of divergence
dot, dot, dot
“Why aren’t we worrying about the dew?”
We won’t go to Verona or Elba
but still there remains to me,
what remains to me of you but these few
splendors soldering themselves in the conceit of a writing.
The underlining is mine.
What remains to me of you: the loved metonymy of the past.
Texts are foreign.
I have you on the tip of my Tongue.
* Susana Cerdá (1948-2010) was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Her poetry collection _Solia_ was published in 1988. Among other journal publications, she appeared frequently in the Argentine poetry journal _Xul_, edited by Jorge Santiago Perednik. Her work has also appeared in translation in English language journals and in the anthology _The Xul Reader_ (Roof Books).
Molly Weigel is a poet, translator, and therapist living in central New Jersey. Her version of Jorge Santiago Perednik’s Shock of the Lenders (Action Books) received the PEN Poetry in Translation Prize in 2013.
O little thing o tender tiny Parasite Hanging
from her slack breast The milk dribbling All the time he could not eat
Boneless body hanging in reddarkest silence In
untime suspended like Silkworm singing out the strands
In the distance Hear that thrash The kick of
waves accruing silt
Your heart is a bear with the den curled up
inside A red whorled abalone flesh All nestled up in opalesence
Signing out the strands of you Slow accretion
around that central irritant Softening the trauma
sit enshrined in muscle Slowly growing sentience Spindle raveling in silent
John Moore Williams has written three chapbooks: I discover i is an android (Trainwreck Press, 2008), writ10 (VUGG Books, 2008) and, with Matina L. Stamatakis, Xenomorphoia (Wheelhouse, 2009). He’s also published a full-length book of poetry, [+!] (Calliope Nerve, 2009), with Matina Stamatakis and Kane X. Faucher. Poems have appeared in Shampoo, Dear Sir, Otoliths, BlazeVox, and many others.
We’re doing pretty good at this thing, she said on the first day of my condition, one of us picks up the slack where the other drops off. I agreed (we were driving her Kia in a parking lot made of steak). Her face was shiny pink with balloons when the radio blew itself, and then, it started, raining. I puffed up like a marshmallow. My wife was worried about her parking, it was nice. The yellow lines were concerned about my tough cough though. Every time she moved her Kia wheels a clan of gnomes tittered out of the shadows. I chased them furtively down the meat until they crested the horizon, so cute, giggling.
The gnomes drove around haughtily the second day, they lived inside the plumbing of cars. They looked like a bowl of ping pong balls and smelled like my grandma’s cooking. I told her about my little friend Grandma this is my little body, my little spread for the gnomes to feast on. This is my girlfriend she knows how to back it up (her car). This is my adorable family. I’m seventy five— retired. Gnomes behind: the tires. Gnomes in my fluorescent nail beds. I’ve made my bed and now I have to tell lies in it.
Gnomes, and I’m addressing you all directly now, meet my girlfriend in the first gear. Meet the third day of my condition. Meet my car in a meat bikini. Don’t mistake my baby hands for magic beans. Don’t coagulate at the foot of my bed. My mouth is so consistently real that my foam teeth are expanding into my double brain. If I’m retired why do I have to deal? I’m so young and I’ll hunch over my desk? At my desk, droves of gnomes drove quietly up behind me, driven. Their white beards draped onto the back of my goose neck. What a, the gnomes looked down, lovely dress.
On the fourth day the gnomes began to leak. I tripped over a pile of meat and landed myself onto an erect spark plug, liberating a blast of gnomes from my gut. I handed the gnomes a mop and they politely cleaned up. What’s going on in there Snow White said my Grandma from inside the other room from inside her pot of potatoes. Grandma, we aren’t so different you and I. We are both too sick to drive. (God I just love my family, my little wife, who knows how to drive a Kia and even to look, good doing it. God I’m so incredibly young.)
It was the fifth day so I kneeled before the pantheon of gnomes and begged for their judicial mercy. They wanted to know the engine behind my narrative (ha ha, very funny gnomes). I was wearing my costume so as to more authentically perform my infection. Their miniature knuckles ah! Ah! Their miniature knuckles cracked contagiously. I put my hand on the holy book, my girlfriend had hand-packed me meat lunch. The gnomes were stroking their beards and at this point I winked emphatically. Please, I swear on my Grandma’s snow white hair that I’m a real one. Look at my Kia death drive. Look at me I’m barely legal.
* Audrey Lindemann wrote the pamphlet I have compiled 14 gay love poems (SPAM Press 2019). Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Queen Mob’s Tea House, Ghost Parachute, Protean Magazine, and elsewhere.