poem: UNTITLED 20
this smile is a jail cell
centuries of laughter
sorry if i say the wrong things—
essay: Insipid / Intrepid
As the adventurous person talks on, I am struck by a sense that they are confident and unperturbed by minor setbacks. I find myself specifically interested in the banal logistics of what it means to be that way, more than being interested in their actual stories. I feel that there’s no way for me to think cleverly about what it means to live an interesting life, or what it means to be fluid and graceful as you move through the world. Continue reading “Essay by Rosa Jones”
short story: Ruined Things Are Only Gorgeous When They Are Not Yours
Driving along the motorway, the radio crackled. She wanted to trace something on the window, but couldn’t think what. She fiddled with buttons, found an old song they both liked and turned it up. She imagined she was going to Berlin, to meet girls wearing orange lipstick and boots, tall and forward in the chaos of other people. Continue reading “Short Story by Anna Walsh”
the second gregarious girls come out to the streets
the streets become a jamboree for alter egos and their debutantes
to that sight the gods from above
dissolve into the opaque solar panache
soon after when the luminary man resigns
entrusting Enkidu with an ordinary mission
to make a king believe he is the cause
of his own inhibitions
poem: “Socialism” is Currently the #1 Trending Word on Merriam-Webster.com
My brain ekes in the dark without
a flashlight. Holding a banana to ward off
scurvy and North Sea pirates. I live under
a wrecked ship’s hull. From the ceiling it rains
rats. I eat them. First, we talk. In my telescope.
The Dey waves a silver hand. For the seraglio.
For the Danes to send the goods. I will plunder. Continue reading “Two Poems by Matt Broaddus”
short story: M80
I remember telling my parents that I was destined to get along with Bud Lykke, with that prosocial name of his, but I didn’t expect such a character. Each morning, he pours a bit of coffee into the hanging plants. After dinner he spends hours inside chunky headphones with “Binaural Beats” blaring, engineered to trigger dissociative states. He grew up in Appalachia, some obscure county in Ohio, and blames his ills on the heavy fracking around there, radioactivity in the drinking water. Continue reading “Short story by James Cato”
poem: Isolation, Part 9: Coffee Filter Salvation
Clowning up as suburban bandits
We three stumble into the empty park,
Breathing through coffee filters
Tucked away in cotton life-preservers
And there we conduct a baseball season
Tossing, though never catching,
A ball between the rising Violets and Chickweed.
story: The Somnambulist Party
The moon is full and bathing. Light laps each house in this quiet village, casting silver squares through windows with undrawn curtains.
In one such bedroom, a cat bathes too, pale fur illuminated against the floorboards. A clock chimes deep within the house and his eyes flash open. He stretches, unfurling his length, and leaps on the mistress’s bed, pawing at her cheek once, twice, waiting.
The mistress is between dreams. Within them, a dark ocean crashes into itself. She is expecting an arrival in the foam but is uncertain what form it will take. A vast scattering of shells and flint line the shore but she can’t move quickly enough to search through the piles. When she moves her hands, they leave ghostly echoes of themselves. The sound of waves melts into chiming. It is almost the hour, she knows, and she hasn’t found a thing. Continue reading “Short Story by Jennifer Brough”
photo by Shaimaa Abdelkarim
poem: Days in
i mostly wonder
when joy knocks
would it smell like
a lily and jasmine musk perhaps
i often ponder
if joy is what today brings
let it come
poem: Bratislava 2016/ Sydney 2020
Where I’d like to be: a place with clean white sheets.
A hotel room, I’ve always loved them. View from the
window – not the ocean or anything, just trees
on a hill with some brutalist buildings and a pink and
orange sunset at rest behind. Luxurious.
poem: The Crossroads
The Cailleach’s breath rattles through the barren branches of the standing talls,
as midnight’s moon casts a cold glance upon all below.
Bearing gifts of coin and confections, tipple and tapers, I come to the crossroads
to petition and pray, as the witching hour draws near and the veil thin.
story: The Dog
Their clothes are ironed on them in the shape of death. Soggy bread of a sky looking over, he gargles time release capsules. Not enough pills milled for the morning after. The frosted flakes expired; he flops between her shrubbery, bulge withering beneath a dress. “It’s no longer in style to be a bad lay,” she says. He vows to return her to the urn, drops her off for cognitive behaviorals instead. “Listen to a woman once and you become her therapy dog,” his mother always said, teeth gnawing through his skull like fly eggs, speaking through a bisection of his face in swarms. “We’re all Satan’s puppet, a populace atop the hoof.” He hears her talk to the shrink through walls so thin he wishes they were her clothes. He tends to end up overacting in the bear costume she makes him wear. They’ve been brining bite marks on each other. In utter silence their chalky mouths resemble apple seeds, if worms took the core. “What eats the worms after they eat us?” Entwined guts, reshuffling microbiomes a couple viruses at a time, they’re not worth the ekphrastic flesh of their penny masks.
poem: The Hunt
we flicker from pixel to pixel
the dream of this inverted world
our bodies dissolved into digits
the horizon flattens and winks out
into an oblate blank plane, stretched
thin between plates of strange glass
we are reborn with ease here
free to reconstruct, to glut ourselves
on electric subjectives
poem: Take me to a Place
Take me to a place
where you feel no pain
where no one cries
where no troubles exist
Show me the path
that I need to follow
to find this land
where everything works
Can anyone hear me cry?
Because right now
I am so very lost
so very tired and broken
poem: time travel is cruel & kind
you’re me. i’m not
one but so many.
you do not walk.
empty and rootless i drift. i’m
you. as everyone digs out caste histories and thump their chests and thighs you drift and i turn at right angles. time’s not linear but parallel. adrift i turn left right left you turn at left angles.
cyclone of light or what, i say
poem: Building Blocks
Sometimes I just want to buy something
fuck like it’s the last hurrah
build an ant farm
although I don’t like ants
I want to do a thing – some kind of thing
(I started this when I was walking)
and then climbed into myself Continue reading “Three Poems by Donna Dallas”
poem: Noise of life
The last autumn leaf now falling
And drifting towards alien lands,
Barren boughs of the maple tree
Shivering in the wind’s cold clasp,
Besotted moths still chasing flames,
Days seeking nights pursuing days, Continue reading “Three Poems by Mugu Ganesan”
The moan of late-night cars cruising the highway—
ghostly, but not ghosts. Call them cries at 3 a.m.,
memories bursting forth from the brain,
gasps in bed, a shout to the darkness.
Or call them inadequacies, pains,
breaths too quick, perpetual reveries:
that time you, sick, quit your job and fled
to anywhere, multiple places, seeing multiple
sights and multiple people, all who smiled
and looked around, seemingly happy,
but inside were bursting Continue reading “Two Poems by Jon Bishop”