Two Girlarium sonnets:
remember Hollow Man? Kevin Bacon
stuck in our seat forced a rapist’s point
of view women can’t see him
we go unseen reliving through
leading to his neighbor her apartment
stuck in our seat as credits roll
I should have left before credits
still without closure Rhona Mitra
credited only as Neighbor
Dennis Etzel Jr. lives with Carrie and the boys in Topeka, Kansas where he teaches English at Washburn University. His work has appeared in Denver Quarterly, Indiana Review, BlazeVOX, Fact-Simile, 1913: a journal of poetic forms, 3:AM, Tarpaulin Sky, DIAGRAM, and others. Etzel is the recipient of a 2017 Troy Scroggins Award and the 2017 Topeka ARTSConnect Arty Award in Literary Arts. He co-edited Ichabods Speak Out: Poems in the Age of Me, Too with Dr. Jericho Hockett which features poems against sexual assault from the Washburn University and Topeka Community. He is a TALK Scholar for the Kansas Humanities Council and leads poetry workshops in various Kansas spaces.
Third shift at the night factory
assembles the simple, elegant machine of night.
Workers, like figures in a shadow play,
hammer the fitted parts home,
extend the handle of a wrench with a pipe,
and brace a foot against the stubborn bolt.
Engineers pour over the schematics of the moon
trembling on the surface of oil in open buckets.
In the last of the dark hours,
welders extinguish their torches
while the foreman inspects the welds
with a candle held behind the seams.
Pinholes in the bead or casting
fill the factory with starlight,
a constellation of flaws, a myth and map of stars
we made to find our way out.
Queued at the gate and parting
at the whistle into morning,
shift workers call to each other:
‘night, see ya, so long, take care
Stephen Frech has earned degrees from Northwestern University, Washington University in St. Louis, and the University of Cincinnati. He has published three volumes of poetry: Toward Evening and the Day Far Spent (Kent State UP), If Not For These Wrinkles of Darkness (White Pine Press), and The Dark Villages of Childhood (Midwest Writing Center) His fourth volume titled A Palace of Strangers is No City, a sustained narrative of prose poetry/flash fiction, has been published by Cervena Barva Press. He published a translation of poetry from the Dutch: Menno Wigman’s Zwart als kaviaar/Black as Caviar. He is founder and editor of Oneiros Press, publisher of limited edition, letterpress poetry broadsides. Oneiros broadsides have been purchased by special collections libraries around the world, among them the Newberry Library (Chicago), the Beinecke Library at Yale, and the University of Amsterdam Print Collection. Stephen Frech is Professor of English at Millikin University
out the machineries of cold manufactured delight.
Push broom down aisles of persuasion,
Tidy stray cardboard packaging, lost lollipops,
Tab ends, water bottle tops into clear bags.
Push sud and scrub machine down
Avenues of enticement, lift shoe scud,
rice, sugar, dripped carbonated water,
my own boot print to be released, slopped out
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).
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.
In memory of Sam Shepard (1943-2017)
1. Under a fat summer moon the Lost Cowboy stops his horse. Stares at the scars in his hands looking for a map to guide him home.
2. Home is the place where you always long to be but which you will never find. The Lost Cowboy still hears the words of his father.
3. Come home, oh sweet baby, come home back to me. Startled, the Lost Cowboy struggles to place his mother’s lullaby in his memory. Continue reading “The Lost Cowboy [A story in 24 tweets] by Mauricio Montiel Figueiras”
Imagine Gertrude Stein Sees
the ten month old
pushes out, pulls in
Does substitution satisfy*
no there there.Continue reading “Imagine Gertrude Stein Sees by Mare Leonard”
Our Photo artist for the month, Amanda Ollinik, supplied almost all the featured photos used(except for two or three). She is as prolific as our poetry/fiction contributors, and very well take her talent seriously. We are grateful to her and her partner, Lydia, for making the month as photogenic as it can be. Continue reading “Featured Photo Artist – Amanda Ollinik”
The Artisan’s Defense
He’d blame the desert if they ever found him. Golden sunsets were wasted on him, made his eyes dry, clouded his mind. He saw no signs in the horizon, no maps to promised lands. The desert was for prophets, men without a trade, who could do nothing but lift their clumsy hands to the sky and then coil upon the ground, savoring their shortcomings before G-d. Continue reading “The Artisan’s Defense – Hege Jakobsen Lepri”
Lend me your ears; I am telling you stories. My cave is empty. I have nothing else to give. There is a mountain in Norway called the Storebalak, where, in March of ’86, an avalanche ate 16 soldiers. This is known as the Vassdalen Incident. Consider the number 16. Consider the numbered dead. This was of 31 of them. Consider the avalanche merciful. Consider I am telling you facts now. Let it be known this is a history. Who Continue reading “Water Witching – Jamie Hood”
Faith Is An Egg With A Thin Shell
Faith is a word I hold in my hand, safe in my palm, enclosed by the nest of my upturned fingers. Take faith to the lips: said, spoken, delivered, a birth of song spills from a secret mouth. If you speak faith, the five letters advance with an F, stridently like a French ‘fanfare’, a lawless, troubadour’s marching band. Then the word melts in the wind of aaaith, an elongated, rushing sound. Faith closes with the delicateness of th. Place the tongue, feather-light, by the teeth. Faith, faith, faith.
Rilke said, “Have faith that in this love there is a strength and a blessing so large that you Continue reading “Faith Is An Egg With A Thin Shell – Susanna Crossman”
Joshua Palmer is an artist and writer pursuing an MFA at the University of Pittsburgh, but he is from Texas the way windmills, dirt, and Dairy Queens are from Texas. He is currently doing research for a manuscript about a gay bathhouse fire. His poetry has appeared in SPF LIT MAG, Spectrum Culture, and Popula (forthcoming). You can follow him on twitter @gummybrzpalmer.
Featured photo credit: Amanda Ollinik @Allunderonemoon
Tape tacked on a lamp
Post. “I” spray-painted
On someone’s lawn.
A raised book casting
A shadow on the pulpit.
Perplexed by flyer, home-
Owner, priest. Continue reading “1. Mark Making 2. Mistaking the Parts for the Whole 3. Point of View – Elisa Taber”
Lucidity At The Edge Of The Abyss
his father brought him to me in his arms and i said
“forget those doctors my friend take this clay in your hand and your hand
will move again”
and it did (his hand did move again) (doctors said there was no chance) (what force gave me the nerve to say)(same force that gives me this day cancer leaping through this body as it is all laws pale to insignificance)
death is my friend take me any time says i Continue reading “1. Lucidity At The Edge Of The Abyss 2. Afterlife Of Battered – Bobbi Lurie”
Preachers On The Street
the thing is
they have guts enough
to believe in something.
to go that far;
standing on a streetcorner
screaming at strangers. Continue reading “1. Preachers On The Street, and 2. Burning In Crowded Places – DS Maolalai”
Music Number Four: Talus Deposits
When grandmother died, mother turned off the lights. From a high rise I see across harbours. Veins on your nose. A snapped rose.
This is a scree.
The roads are filled with transistor radios. Playing Springsteen songs. Here comes the night: American neo-troubadour melodies.
the funeral, of course, took place after Friday night Sabbath. Continue reading “Music Number Four: Talus Deposits – Robert Frederic Kenter”
Martin and the Sea
Dusk had fallen long ago and a cold biting sea breeze was humming a sweet melody as the sea waves crashed on the formidable sea wall of Georgetown. It was almost pitching dark. Martin sat on the sea wall looking at the incoming waves laughing under the yellow tail of the moon hidden behind a dark curtain of clouds. He walked slowly on the broad edges of the wall, watching little boys hauling a seine along the shallow shore line. White egrets nibbled at shrimps in the salty mud holes on the broken mud flats, lovers passed by holding hands in the thin whisper of rain. He kept a lonely vigil on the Continue reading “Martin and the Sea – Gideon Cecil”
It is winter, suddenly, and Agnete is stuck inside her cottage. She is running out of preserves. She is bored. Sometimes Agnete wishes her husband would return, but alas, he is locked away. He may even be dead. Most of the time she is glad to be rid of him and his sharp teeth and breath like rotted wood. The snowfall came as a surprise. It is only the third week of September, after all. The white blanket has obscured her captor, and Agnete does not know the protocol of escaping a fairy ring one cannot see. Continue reading “Quiet Wife – Erin Vance”
I am a stranger in this place
& grief’s white teeth leave
its bite marks on my skin:
the relic of a child left in the
cold hand of an estranged city,
alone. I am a stranger in this city
& family dinner table is a strange Continue reading “1. Testimonies 2. When the Rainbow Falls from the Sky 3. How Things Look Back – Ifeoluwa Ayandele”