CONTENT WARNING: Poem explores the destruction of nature, homes, life and animals during the bushfire crisis in Australia, still currently happening.
The day I was Ꙩ\born/Ꙩ a terrible →sadness← descended upon the ⃝\earth/⃝.
Their ⌂homes⌂ are now piles of dust, coughing smoke and ⸙\smoldering/⸙. I can hear the ●dead● mounds whimpering softly over the ⌐agony⌐ of their ₼scorched₼ memories.
Silicone and Ꝝ\metal/Ꝝ melt at my touch and ≈\water/≈, my enemy, is as ineffective as paracetamol is for cancer.
In other lives I was a ◊cleanser◊, cleaner, ჻\creator/჻. Now I am known as ●pain●.
Continue reading “Australia Burns by Tony Messenger & Kayla Milaudi”
LABYRINTH EDITION DECEMBER 2019 GUEST EDITED/CURATED BY DHIYANAH HASSANContinue reading “LABYRINTH EDITION DECEMBER 2019 GUEST EDITED/CURATED BY DHIYANAH HASSAN”
swallowed hope: an erasure diptych
For all the good it did
It was me. Should I go on?
The dark doesn’t affect
your nose. Never wake up
A fraction of an inch— Continue reading “Remixes by Shloka Shankar”
Watercolor on paper, 2015
NO MACHINE WITHOUT A GHOST EDITION NOVEMBER 2019 GUEST EDITED/CURATED BY MAUVE PERLE TAHAT/ARTWORK BY MORIAH M. MYLODContinue reading “NO MACHINE WITHOUT A GHOST EDITION NOVEMBER 2019 GUEST EDITED/CURATED BY MAUVE PERLE TAHAT/ARTWORK BY MORIAH M. MYLOD”
I was told (who told me? what voice?) to imagine
a porthole, to focus across the blue. Wait
for the glare of clarity to abate, subdue it.
Acknowledge the blue, it said, like breathing
used to be. It will be cold, like the first snow,
as you ease yourself across. There is the sea.
Concentrate. I become my focus, which is her.
She watches the sky (I remember the sky). I don’t
see her, it is not sight, yet she’s there on the terrace
watching the clouds, seeing vertebrae.
The voice says, It’s like blowing. I remember
breathing, taking in a deep breath. The thought,
or what sounds like a thought, makes me smile.
(A smile is just a metaphor now.) Focus.
I’m entranced with the mirror image. I need the sea
for practice. She’s searching for letters – an L – but clouds
are untamable, they stand on end, wisps
trailing away into a spider’s thread that I follow (again,
a metaphor) in wonder (now I know wonder)
and she is no longer on the terrace, no longer
looking, though her ache crimsons the scent
of pine and honeysuckle. I translate touch, sound,
sight, want, pain. She is trying to translate, but knows
only blue, sea. Sees only vertebrae, thinks I don’t hear.
I resist dissipation. I dally, imagining our two mists
mingling (what sex used to be?), though I’m becoming
wisp already. Her every thought like a blood-red
light flashing in the empty blue. Listen.
Kymm Coveney was born in Boston and has lived in Spain since the 1982 World Cup. Some poems are in Under the Radar, Prole, and The Interpreter’s House. Several flash pieces reside at 101Fiction. Online translations include a poem at Surreal Poetics and a short story at Palabras Errantes.
I am and I become
abecedarian as a personal charm
to am and become
to be and become
remind me to be light
inside each memory egg a gold inlay of an incident
how the brain compartmentalizes like a chambered nautilus
yet it is all one sand – the brain distinguishes one from the other to understand
i’ve made a career of privacy and compartmentalized objects
i’ve made a career of my traumas
what is privacy here with all exposed and sifting over one another in an endless span
how much of privacy or keeping secret is wrapped up in fears around judgement
light exposures popping up – the privacy book the mean latitudes of reason
a wish to bold concave belly flesh shoulders wrapped in marbled warscape
a wish to stand tall to withstand the seas at the door
i biked all over town in the early dawn popping off light exposures drunk on tall boys and crashed into a lexus
the me then the me
mortal rigor in the fountain in the landscape chasm
to rack focus like an aperture to let light in
object/frame stillness among the raging
majestic orifice right there
alate lion in the yard
these death energetics
i swallow hieroglyphs like a carceral bee
fires all around the island in a glacial crisis
war on my nerves a pallor a fungus
the lens has holes in it
a disintegration of the ephemeral
the segmented abdomen becomes integrated
losing its segments as an insect ages
cerci wave in weapons of copulation
wingless among the deciduous
the sense making
malicious octopus reticular trap
alphabet laughter in the yarrow
when you become the lens itself
so the pallor is swallowed, excreted
the moult can moult
Electra clasp the wretches
wretched the wretches wash ashore
pubic schema old days of the goddess
stressed belly the “curved inflorescence”
irascible pharaoh egg-shaped coffin
bury me in this alleged
receiving familiar Legend
Hers is the felled heart a sword-shaped segment
when i curve toward you
the air stretches me pinnate
radio neuron electra radial split inquisitive
I split I fire on all radials
electrons of nostalgia acquisitive longing
how the “stigma persists at the tip” even though its buried
how trauma persists the skins a sun coming through it
wild mouths wild mouths
when the agor settles
when gold dust lament
covers it all
i am a beetle captured
my green thorax aglow
among the amber
my pincers akimbo
like come at me bro
i still believe in a female god
Melissa Eleftherion is a writer, librarian, and a visual artist. She is the author of field guide to autobiography (The Operating System, 2018), & nine chapbooks, including the forthcoming trauma suture (above/ground press, 2020). Born & raised in Brooklyn, Melissa now lives in Mendocino County where she manages the Ukiah Library, teaches creative writing, & curates the LOBA Reading Series. Recent work is available at www.apoetlibrarian.wordpress.com.
our feet have bottomed
out in the earth-slit.
let it be known
buck was once the name
of a dog, but not a dog
of mine. my toddler
arms suffered hives
from his lick, burned
redhot from within
- i feared his cleaning
himself, a nautilus
my own body
could not shape. in a kitchen
like any other, the smoke
left a beeswarm. before
fire, i figured allergies, my skin
blistering honeyblood. a maggot
lived in buck
for nine days before
anyone noticed. when plucked,
it was golf-sized, full of
dog. mother fed me
a milkbone for a moment of
peace, bleached the
sink of its bloodsplatter until
our dishes were
poison. the sun rises &
there is less
& less of us. we hold
last vigils by the jesus-
shrine, ask for him to
be with us & in us – a
maggot. how afraid
they must be, jesus
and the dog, having never
seen hell before. we are
constantly feeding; the holes
in all of us.
Kailey Tedesco is the author of She Used to be on a Milk Carton (April Gloaming Publishing). Her collection, Lizzie, Speak, won White Stag Publishing’s 2018 poetry contest, and her newest collection, FOREVERHAUS, is forthcoming from White Stag in 2020. She is a senior editor for Luna Luna Magazine. You can find her work featured or forthcoming in Gigantic Sequins, Electric Literature, Nat. Brut, Black Warrior Review, Fairy Tale Review, Bone Bouquet Journal, and more. For further information, please follow @kaileytedesco.
stories only 🡪 this message has no content / i will devour / like a written thing 🡪 loomed untitled. /// The / empathy empathy / the main character should die 🡪 submenu / enter // my question is when u say you are say u are sad, what are you sad about? are you sad about the world? the compounded sadness? is a thought sad? how is happy? whose is it and what is it like? mouseclick 🡪 palpable turn //// thought n. – a reliquary of loss; an open document; a semblance; a letting; a source; everyone who’s there.    🡪 the season nonetheless some evocative partially solid thing 🡪 extra limbic 🡪 carrier wave 🡪 mostly 🡪 really 🡪 and as the subject of / what do you see 🡪 praxis in reasonable portions 🡪 father on religion save / save save the whales 🡪 they sick / from heavy metals (character’s demonstration of preconceived prerecorded a priori desires /// “exist” or 🡪 my biological episode (to descriptor string   blessed end blessed beginning) 🡪 second death / wearing the gradual retreat still heard and felt / Object. / have been the road       see if you put this like this and this like this / you can make / a mouth a mouth a myth / and it’s the same the same same [the question is]
Ian recently finished his MFA in Poetry from Louisiana State University. His work has appeared in the tiny and Aberration Labyrinth and is forthcoming in Always Crashing. He lives and walks his black lab, Gabriel, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
I’ve been circling lakeside for years
cypress knees are fine fine thought
they were a breathing mechanism, but recently
researched into support marginal buttress
more waist-high concealment
Every loop a filmed apocalypse held
the length of a lizard’s tail
easy to detach
I’m sprung aloof
By the end, memory is abandoned
& I’m still speechless
swaddled in a thicker gunk called glow
say gray diligence
from perfect repetition the loop
devours all possibility, gurgling
warm at the center everyone still
blank where I left them
Here I am, laying out the longest
waiting room – red carpet gone to sun-bleach
I watch the lake for displacement,
though I’m not sure anything can live
in a constructed hollow;
fishers line the sides, though I’ve never seen them move a landscape
I can’t totally trust
because I keep coming back
Recently, objects have been vanishing, or simply
giving up the ruse
cattails reared in absence
nimble false bearings
There’s a stranger yet to arrive – summoned back to me;
We’ll shake hands, I’ll ask where they’ve been, though I know the answer
I’ve only ever emulated the business of obfuscation
What is the opposite of water displacement? When a thing erupts from deep volume?
The belief is there, but in practice I’m another statue sweat
Nobody has fallen from the sky in years
Phil Spotswood is a poet from Alabama, and a PhD Creative Writing student at Illinois State University. His most recent work can be found in baest, The Wanderer, and Tagvverk. He is the recipient of the 2018 Robert Penn Warren MFA Poetry Thesis Award judged by Tonya Foster, and the 2017 William Jay Smith MFA Poetry Award judged by Daniel Borzutzky. He tweets @biometrash.
on canvas she’s shaped like an Easter egg
in life she’s young and sexy
Marie-Therese at 17
wakes from an erotic dream
moves her fingers
over and under her body
we watch Marie Therese
shift see her
eyes close her hips lift
she spreads out on a divan
she stretches over the canvas
we hear lullabies
sweet Marie sweet
he rocks the egg
he moves his brush
Picasso’s soft touch
shakes her yearnings
she rolls into life
far from Pablo’s hands
Mare Leonard’s latest chapbook was published in 2018 at Finishing Line Press, The Dark Inside My Hooded Coat. Read some reviews on her face book page: Mare Leonard Poet and Teacher and send a message with comments and if you would like a copy. She is also searching for home for a chapbook of ekphrastic poems
. . . something about a man and his dog (in the grand, non-linear scheme of reincarnation) as being one in the same. Soul, that is. Ethereal transient dweller, is another. Here now, there they are: Situated between two distinct, bloody meat husks, between two separate states of existent being — at once, under one roof, simultaneously — with one foot in man, the other, a dachshund-terrier mix.
. . . is comprised of both end and endless, singular and infinite, of omniscient oblivion, bright-dark heavy-light, of both shape and void, each with their own distinct name. As a man: Brandon. In dog form, she is Mocha, among countless others (i.e., Mochi, Mookie, Monkey, Chunky, Chubbers, Chunkmonster. . . ). As mutual entity, root identity, as timeless core incarnate, a loose translation: Daielaareux.
. . . will spend seven months at the shelter, gone unadopted longer than any other dog, before rejoining herself again. Meanwhile, she cries her jaw off. Starves herself down to a coffee-boned silhouette. Even draws blood from the hand of a guileless child, to make clear the message: I will never be yours. She waits patiently for what she already knows will eventually be.
. . . remembers what, on pure impulse, will drive him to the shelter in this manic grasping for purpose, going on six days without medication. He will come upon himself, caged separate. His ovaries scooped clean. Groggy with shots to keep him quiet, stagnant, alive. Not even finding himself to be particularly cute, or unique, or enthralling, yet feeling instantly connected, just the same. Might he’ve recognized then, in those muted eyes, himself? She knows the next years ahead of them together will be nothing so glorious — that they are in no way ready or responsible enough to take adequate care of themselves. They will ingest things that will make them violently ill. They will be too poor, too careless, to seek medical help. Will endure vast chunks of boredom, chewing holes through themselves, incapable to leave the house. Will watch themselves from the foot of the bed sulk and rot away for days on end, treading the grey wash of their skull, directionless, besides down. Will be the only life force to keep them afloat, strong enough to pull themselves upwards, and eventually, out.
. . . yanks on their leash in unruly directions, and, out of sheer spite, he tugs them back the opposite way. Each will struggle to tell themselves what to do. He instructs her to obey: Sit. Heel. Eat. Fetch. Up on the couch. Now, off. But she refuses to listen. Years later, their heart crushed by a lasting love, lost — the one who used to (she now learns) smack them in private, but still loves her, despite the abuse — two months out, having still not washed the pillows or sheets, incubated with the tortuous scent of their ex’s shampoo, she has no other choice than to piss on the bed. She instructs him to: Be calm. Go for a walk. Know your self-worth. Move on. But he refuses to listen. He tells himself: No. He calls herself: Bad girl. They scream as themselves: Shut up shut up shut up.
. . . Daielaareux, in countless other forms: A bridge in New Zealand. A strip mall in Detroit. An unbuttered croissant. A great big pile of leaves. A spanned lineage of prehistoric, neon-colored crabs. A comfortable silence. An impossible dream. The 37th Annual Miss America pageant. A one-hit wonder. An impotent king. A fortuitous accident, recognized only in hindsight. The Divine Mouth taking the earth like a vitamin. A newborn horse’s first step. Another one biting the dust.
. . . forever amounts to, returns back to, self-love.
. . . just seconds before the New Year, 2018. Time hibernates. Thoughts shuffle like a deck of cards. Head loud. Skull turned inside out on psychedelics. A blubbery, sunken, self-contained mess of fleshy slop packed inside a transient shell. A dark stain on the carpet, on a mother’s pelvic floor. He rushes to the bathroom, convinced an empty bladder will cure him. It does, then doesn’t. Grime sits in every wrinkle. Gravity’s tandem held hand lets go. The universe’s veil pulled down like a shower curtain, their many forms spilling out over the linoleum floor. On their knees, hands, back, she perches on his chest and he catches it — a quick glimpse, the uncanny resemblance, atoms stacked like dodged shoved in a cage. He holds herself behind the ears, kisses himself on their wet, hot stinking teeth. Noticing it fully, this tethering between them — an ethereal cord, conjoined. He she they them are all was once will have had we become continuous as one day slips seamlessly into the next without a clock, as the crackling bursts of fireworks resound from outside, at last. They have made it, for now.
. . . in the same windowed timeline, will cease just as abruptly as its start: The man, at the tender age of fifty-six, from an untreated pulmonary obstruction; as a dog, age nine, a pack of stale Oreos left accessible at the top of the trash. And yet, both still remain incapable of saving each other, themselves, from what must be in order to happen again.
Stephen Wack is an Atlanta-based writer. He earned an undergraduate degree in Neuroscience from the University of Georgia, where he briefly interned at the college’s literary magazine, The Georgia Review. His work has previously appeared in Five:2:One, Rougarou, and Cleaver Magazine, and is forthcoming in The Hunger and New Flash Fiction Review.
In this diorama, an intermediary exists in between
the good and the bad, but it’s hard to tell the difference
and sometimes the forces combine.
This room is for the disobedient whores
to be stabbed and wrapped in plastic
and then placed in an ornamental circle.
In this room, tiny log shaped ornaments
sometimes change color
or shape or size to warn you
the next fire is about to begin.
In this room, someone will tell you she can cast a spell
in order to reveal who your real friends are,
but what if you find out you don’t have any real friends?
More broken hearts will sink under the ground.
More spells will turn your life invisible.
Everyone has their own interests at heart
to be rearranged into good, bad, evil, dead
Juliet Cook is a grotesque glitter witch medusa hybrid brimming with black, grey, silver, purple, and dark red explosions. She is drawn to poetry, abstract visual art, and other forms of expression. Her poetry has appeared in a peculiar multitude of literary publications. You can find out more at www.JulietCook.weebly.com.
blood-red nails tiny ferns or creek-side bloodletting
he swears rain is coming
and, oh yeah, she’s pregnant
and they name all their kids after each other
ink changing color, blend in
and their defense is to present me
as a wild woman in red on fast horses out of our time
but I know every minute of every week
toward the moor or the seashore.
You say I’m futuristic but I’m cloyingly nostalgic
well-read in the gothic abandoning
the conga line of bleached blondes to forcefeed the dying cat
Christmas crackers and charades
and wink if it’s a murder plaid pants and my father’s failed guillotine trick.
If you have time I’ll teach you stuffed with sweet pecans
otherwise you can look in the clear purse
with the blue gingham pocket for secrets
vampires haunting New England
and Vampira on late-nite TV.
I wear a wig like hers but I’m not starving you
in my smart suit in my flowered shell
and all the good noirs take place by the Hollywood Bowl
a minute per page in the trick house we hear them
except the one where the girl falls off the boat
in her stolen furs
and you gut a dog to switch on your sex drive
and I waterski to our eroding island
sex twice in the summer a middy dress play
so even when her coat’s shiny I won’t forget she’s dying.
I pray for an earlier night no matter what
I pray to come in the storm in a full-skirted green dress.
I’m saving it up for the riverbed chase scene
for the wasp-waisted Los Angeles rainbow
for the end is immortal/immoral
for the femme fatale exits unscathed.
Jessie Janeshek’s three full-length collections are MADCAP (Stalking Horse Press, 2019), The Shaky Phase (Stalking Horse Press, 2017) and Invisible Mink (Iris Press, 2010). Her chapbooks include Spanish Donkey/Pear of Anguish (Grey Book Press, 2016), Rah-Rah Nostalgia (dancing girl press, 2016), Supernoir (Grey Book Press, 2017), Auto-Harlow (Shirt Pocket Press, 2018), Hardscape (Reality Beach, forthcoming), and Channel U (Grey Book Press, forthcoming). Read more at jessiejaneshek.net.
in the house of my body the light is mostly low
the rooms filled with ghosts performing an orchestra
of sorrow about all the broken glass
once, in high school, a girl i had never talked to
taught me how she held her breath until she passed out.
“after the light goes dim, you don’t remember anything.”
in the rooms of my body i wander, shuffling papers into
boxes made of songs i can’t always remember the words to
because i held my breath so many times
once a man held my balled-up fist in his own and
compared it to the size of the human heart. i noticed
how he held them both and i could breathe
in the cathedral of my body undulating rays of light
spell hope on the cracked facade and sometimes
i remember the words to every song