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BURNING HOUSE PRESS

Not For Profit/For Prophecy

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.

“The Passion of Joan of Arc 2” by Gary Shipley

THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC 2

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.

“I woke up to blood” by SMH

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.

“MOMO” by Matthew Kinlin

Momo

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.

.

Pages: 1 2

“är det så en kropp” by Marie-Pascale Hardy (trans. Freke Räihä)

[Note: This poem was first published earlier this week in English. Here is the Swedish translation by Freke Räihä. ]

är det så en kropp

”när en kropp blir kall och stel som ved

måste den eldas med som ved”

– Keanu Reeves, i Little Buddha

är det så en kropp ser ut

när den brinner

kött stiger i långa

remsor av strimlad

kropp vit lego-

bröstkorg uppmurad

.

ovan, en fet rök blåst

mot en kolsvart vägg

i släpande rörelse

.

du, på dina knän

samlar ben och naglar

smälter dem till

städseutbristande stjälkar

*

som en blomma lutar sig mot ljuset

läcker jag och ligger blottad vid dina fötter

.

som en eldloska sedd i tvär

kollision med vårt spett

eller hörd mellan de som gnuggas

mot med

porösa metallpinnar

dina skarpa

blickar

mitt ömma

grepp

.

man hellre använda på mig

en sked eller en spade

huvudstod, innanmätet flytande och utspritt

man hellre använda på mig

en mungräva

*

är det så en kropp ser ut

hjälplös

naken hudlöshet

en mognad som på allvar

inväntar

sin skallra

.

lemlästat, mitt jag

kan fortfarande se att

är det så en kropp

ser ut som jag

.

och som en blomma lutar sig mot ljuset

läcker jag och ligger blottad vid dina fötter


“Bang Bang” by Jiyoon Lee

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. 

ALL OUT WITH BANG BANG

This is the way the world ends

This is the way the world ends

This is the way the world ends

Not with a bang but a whimper.

But I wanna go out

ALL OUT with BANG BANG

My love,

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

SOLDÉ

The Summer Sale is here

and the town square is covered in body parts

SOLDÉ

Another town square is shot up & Forever 21

is the victims’ forever-age

SOLDÉ

My life is sold to the capitalism, exchanged with paper currency

& I exchange my paper life

with the made-in-sweat-shop dresses

SOLDÉ

I am SOLD on the idea

that capitalism will always prevail

We work too hard

We’re too tired

to fall in love.

Therefore we must

overthrow the government.

We work too hard

We’re too tired

to overthrow the government.

Therefore we must

fall in love.

We are too tired…

My love,

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 season

***

BREAKING NEWS

the camera zooms into a man walking down the street

in a suspicious manner

off-camera, the robot bomb goes BANG

& the concrete wall is spattered in

Orgasm Red

My love,

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

SOLDÉ

I wanted to be the salt of the earth

but all I’ve been doing is not going to the cinema

during national holidays to avoid mass shooting

SOLDÉ

I wanted to find a belief system I could devote my life to

But all I see is collection baskets and BANG BANG

SOLDÉ

I wanted to be at the pivotal moment of my generation

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.

My love,

I don’t want my death certificate to say “death by consumption.”

I want my death certificate to say

BANG BANG with blood spatter

My god, we need more bombs

we need more BANG BANG

My god, we need to love

We need more BANG BANG

My god

We need more body bags.


*

3 Poems by Zan de Parry

THE SNAIL

I sat in the soft of her elbow

and baled her armpit hair

I sat in the soft of her knee

drilled kisses under her foot

she didn’t wipe my trail

it hardened, it wrinkled

she didn’t crush me!

though it felt weird under her foot

*

I dunk my dum dum

in tears, a snail infinitely small

so his friends

when you love someone

it’s a canal

of yesterday on




CAVE SWIFTLETS

you call me by phone

you saw me on rat hay cam

jumping, landing on coiled copper

bringing something to someone

like a criminal in a private territory

I address you in three languages

my grandfather’s pearls

a couchette wagon

our life of thirty equal years

a woman in a field of sunflowers

a brunette with these flowers

here, flower-loving girl


THE OVER AND OVER VIDEO

you burn water out of a love-physic

you’re shells that secure small beach dogs

you make a stone tart and put rocks on it

you take the rocks off to make a mark

I write without was and love has no time

I write no time and the pyramids shake

I flip the sky and the birds are lentils

I wash the dishes

our mattress inflates to an ideal rigidity

our backs swell from a swim in dark glacier water

sometimes I desire a soul with a body around it

sometimes the other before the other



*

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.

“Fervescent in Liminexurbia” by John Trefry

Fervescent in Liminexurbia

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

Pages: 1 2

4 Poems by Paul Cunningham






*

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.

“ignoratio elenchi” (from Sophia Lethe Talks Doxodox Down) by Sandy Florian and Robert Oventile

from Sophia Lethe Talks Doxodox Down

ignoratio elenchi



D: Wherever I turn blazes red.

SL: Then refute the redness.

D: In my day, I saw colors.
SL: Granted.
D: In my day, red was a color.
SL: Certainly.
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 shadow.
SL: Colors soak in regardless. Red’s a color, so allow me to remove your rose-colored glasses.
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?



*

Robert 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 Group).


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).

Art by Leif Holmstrand (from “Holy Helpers”)

“What remains to me of you” by Susana Cerdá (trans. Molly Weigl)

What remains to me of you

What remains to me of you

what

what’s left

appalling dreadful love

fleeting dignity

fertile dawn in my writing

(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

the overdetermination

destiny

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

faithful frenzy.

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

rends

the jingle falls through the declension of onomatopoeia

the obvious eats at the intricacies of the word,

prays.

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 preterite.

While

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.

Artwork is from Leif Holmstrand’s “Holy Helpers”

“of alchemy by John More Williams



of alchemy

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

You sit enshrined in muscle Slowly growing sentience Spindle raveling in silent Fragmentaries





*

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.

Photograph from performance by Leif Holmstrand.

“My Unfortunate Condition” by Audrey Lindemann


My unfortunate condition

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.

Photograph of Leif Holmstrand performance piece.

“The Contraption” by Daniel Beauregard


The Contraption (or the Beast in the Boneyard)

-for Theo Jansen

It looked like it had been pulled half-finished out of a dream. Monstrous and stripped of flesh. It was almost gleaming in the early morning sun. With nothing to pick at, we soon began exploring its extremities. After trying for several hours to elicit some sort of response unsuccessfully, I slumped down beside it and watched the tide slowly come in. What the hell does it do? I asked the air. Our companion simply looked at us with a blank stare. When we boarded the ferry to take us here it was packed. But little by little, people must have gotten off. We didn’t realize it until we were the only two passengers left. When we reached the island, there was nothing else to do but disembark. But once we did, the ship disappeared.



Once we’d learned to work the bellows, the contraption kept quite a comfortable pace. We decided to pass all the subsequent days alongside it, walking amidst the tattered remains of cephalopods washed up dead along the shore. It kept the flies off, walking did. We bloat a little more each day beneath the vicious rays of the sun, which haven’t ceased since we began this journey. The few seabirds that remain light upon the contraption infrequently, doing so only momentarily before being scared into the air again as it wheezes forward into life. There’s a certain rhythm to its movements one finds quite pleasing. And the rocks in this locale are relatively soft underfoot. 



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2 poems by Kyla Houbolt



Not That Kind of Time

It was a hotel. The pool had singing waiters who would come around once in a while only, bringing the drinks tray and setting it down next to you whilst they sang.What did they sing? It was somebody’s birthday or maybe it was a national event like a holiday only without flags. Funny thing about this hotel there were no flags at all not anywhere.

It was August. Or maybe it was October, it was hard to tell under the dome just what time of year it was or time of day either, and the singing waiters never seemed to sleep though they did change costumes from time to time. I know it was a hotel because I got a bill once, and because the food was bad but the sheets were always clean and there were plenty of towels, at least on my floor. Were we going somewhere? I don’t think so, it was just time to spend a few days or years in a hotel, helping out with the singing and the drinks, and sewing a few flags for the poor flagless who had never had any.

We sewed many brilliant flags with interesting designs upon them and one thing I can tell you about these flags is that no presidents ever waved or wagged or walked upon or hugged them to a breast full of dead machinery. It was not that kind of hotel.



Burn the Right Things

I watched my hometown burn down slowly in the stinking fires of bank highrise parking Tunnel traffic design money synthesizing itself like that’s wealth I watched a life or three burn into loss of any semblance of self-deliverance, burning with that friction we get trained to bear as it consumes soul after soul I watched a lot of burning in my time so far and it’s always the wrong things burn, not the bad rule of governments not the earth cracking box store but poor people hearts and their houses and all of our trees I hang on hoping one day we’ll start burning the right things but so far we only eat our own smoke.



*

Kyla Houbolt lives and writes in Gastonia, NC. Her current work can be found at @luaz_poet | Linktree.  When she’s not writing she is usually found gazing into treetops, trying to come to terms with all she’s seen. You are welcome to follow her on Twitter @luaz_poet.


Photographs from a Leif Holmstrand performance.

“A SLOW BOILING BEACH” by Rauan Klassnik



    A SLOW BOILING BEACH

I swallow the worm and stagger about.

Dreams increasingly sharp and imbecilic.

You know I was beautiful. A river bent with pain. A diseased koala trapped in the eucalyptus. Disfigured with coke. A forest of burning trees. I want you exhausted and smelling my pussy off your fingers as you deliver my eulogy.

I have heard the voice of God or Jesus Christ.

The rain is coming. I just squashed a spider in the bath.

I have lived a righteous life!

The sky above me is closing.

A dagger in me.





*
These three pieces by Rauan Klassnik are from A SLOW BOILING BEACH (Schism, 2019). Previous books include Holy Land (2008) and The Moon’s Jaw (2013), both from Black Ocean.

“Tree Poems” by Eve Black



TREE POEM 7

as if rooted to the spot

as if fearful he’ll leave me

or cauterised ideas

vain tingling

as if wither

as if bark

the sun has turned us inside out

our blood ghosts this idealised domestic interior

he ached to take root in me

but i spun his seed to spider silk

the sun windows your no

he you i she whoever their sap throbs in morse

spelling the air’s thirst




Pages: 1 2

“Charred” by JA Pak



Charred

Pull out a hair and it’s white. I’m glad it’s white and not dark but then see that inside the one white are several black. I split the white hair open. Attached to the black hairs are small light bulbs. The bulbs lead to a very flat box approximately four inches by two. There’s writing on the box, the usual list of what’s inside a box. I wonder how such a box can be embedded in my hair. And then I think there’s a more troubling question: am I a kit of assembled parts? am I human at all?

It’s Halloween, the streets thick swirling fog. A woman knocks on the door. My dead mentor. ‘I couldn’t help you before,’ she tells me, ‘but I can help you now.’ A few months later she delivers another important message. I see her face, her eyes lit like the blue of burning gas. There’s a house—charred and smoking. Two bodies in the debris—hers, miraculously untouched by fire. The other is the body of death, black & crisp. This time she says goodbye: ‘We’ll meet again. You’ll be an old lady, me a little girl.’ She never talks to me directly again.

My two writing psyches decide on a duel to the death while I sleep. One has decided on becoming wholly female. The other knocks on the door. Barely conscious, hardly able to speak except in a garble, the female psyche asks who it is. A male voice answers: ‘I’m the one who wrote [title I can’t remember, something to do with jobs].’ The female psyche opens the door and is instantly attacked. Why is the division represented as gender? And why the terror? The terror of being attacked by something usually kept deeper underground.

In the city, at dusk, walking with someone and notice there are men following close behind. I turn around. As soon as I see them, the men transform into red lights that float up into the sky and turn into a constellation.

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“Cherry Spot Man” by Kristian Carlsson



Cherry Spot Man

“Oh: you don’t know what I look like, apart from my birthmark. Sorry. I am small, with a ringletty mass of leonine curls, and in fact a rather leonine face; I would look good in whiskers.” – Julia Gray, Little Liar


The performance as a matter of digestion of context,

there was no use in entering before having cake,

the Twin Peaks cherry pie will add to your performance face,

the other you, making confessions in spotlight blindness,

putting the you of you on display,

pulling the me in I into our non-discretionary flesh.

How should I possibly have known birthmarks amass?

All the talk of gray hairs to come, but nothing about the

dalmatianisation of man.

It all started with a few cherry spots, cute on a teen,

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