“Another head hangs lowly Child is slowly taken And the violence caused such silence”
—ZOMBIE by The Cranberries
They sit, huddled, in an arch of floodlight crawling up from the ground, to just above their heads. The dew on the concrete foundation mingles with the fear-sweat seeping from their rigid backs, causing them to shiver in their cotton shirts. They are out there, hovering just beyond this protective ellipse of light. Continue reading “The Changed by Jordan Trethewey”→
I climbed up
to shout you from the rooftop.
Fingernails and scrabbling feet
searching for a place to stand
immersed in the visions flowing from
your daydreams and nightmares.
But before I could speak,
the desert heat baked your words
leaving them flat and tasteless.
Bread with no meaning to make it rise.
Alone, watched only
by the blind eye of the sun
I told myself, “Climb down.” Continue reading “Exodus II by Paul Bluestein”→
Burning House Press are excited to welcome DHIYANAH HASSAN as our DECEMBER 2019 guest editor! As of today DHIYANAH will take over editorship of Burning House Press online for the full month of DECEMBER.
Submissions are open from today – 1st DECEMBER and will remain open until 24TH DECEMBER.
into whatever weather drips, ices, the shop car park
through the detached nozzle of cleanliness.
Latest Fad Is
with the soft robots
under your skin.
Caterpillars and pigs
your transparent skin
and muscle into shadow
plays of nostalgic silhouette
cathedrals, medieval streets,
Capability Brown gardens,
rivers tumble from mountains.
Only the rich can afford
the best internal silhouettes.
Some prefer strip shows
and a pole dancers writhe
inside them they control
with a flashlight. Others
fantasy battles. Internal
tattoos that some say
rot inside after so much
bleeds into vital organs.
Paul Brookes is a shop asst. His chapbooks include The Fabulous Invention Of Barnsley, (Dearne Community Arts, 1993). The Headpoke and Firewedding (Alien Buddha Press, 2017), A World Where and She Needs That Edge (Nixes Mate Press, 2017, 2018) The Spermbot Blues (OpPRESS, 2017), Port Of Souls (Alien Buddha Press, 2018),Please Take Change (Cyberwit.net, 2018), As Folk Over Yonder ( Afterworld Books, 2019).Forthcoming Stubborn Sod, (Alien Buddha Press).
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.