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literature

“Six Degrees at the Movies” by Dennis Etzel Jr.

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Art by Moriah M. Mylod

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” by Stephen Frech

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Art by Moriah M. Mylod

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

2 poems by Paul Brookes

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Art by Moriah M. Mylod

 

I Hollow

 

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

making shapes

with the soft robots

under your skin.

 

Caterpillars and pigs

manipulated inside

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

hybrid animal/machine 

fantasy battles. Internal

 

tattoos that some say

rot inside after so much

manipulation. Corrosion

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).

“centralia, the town that swallows flames” by Kailey Tedesco

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Art by Moriah M. Mylod

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

 

  1. 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

are already 

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. 

The Lost Cowboy [A story in 24 tweets] by Mauricio Montiel Figueiras

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 by Mare Leonard

Imagine Gertrude Stein Sees

A Blue Nipple

the ten month old 

pushes out, pulls in sucks

Does substitution satisfy*

no there there. 

Continue reading “Imagine Gertrude Stein Sees by Mare Leonard”

Featured Photo Artist – Amanda Ollinik

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 – Hege Jakobsen Lepri

       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”

Water Witching – Jamie Hood

Water Witching

I.

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 – Susanna Crossman

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”

Homoerratica 3 (Apologetics) – Joshua Palmer

Homoerratica (Apologetics)

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bhp author photoJoshua 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

1. Mark Making 2. Mistaking the Parts for the Whole 3. Point of View – Elisa Taber

Mark Making

Tape tacked on a lamp
Post. “I” spray-painted
On someone’s lawn.
A raised book casting
A shadow on the pulpit.

Missing: child
Perplexed by flyer, home-
Owner, priest. Continue reading “1. Mark Making 2. Mistaking the Parts for the Whole 3. Point of View – Elisa Taber”

1. Lucidity At The Edge Of The Abyss 2. Afterlife Of Battered – Bobbi Lurie

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”

1. Preachers On The Street, and 2. Burning In Crowded Places – DS Maolalai

Preachers On The Street

the thing is
at least
they have guts enough
to believe in something.
it takes
courage
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 – Robert Frederic Kenter

Music Number Four: Talus Deposits

1.
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.

 

2.
The roads are filled with transistor radios. Playing Springsteen songs. Here comes the night: American neo-troubadour melodies.

 

3.
the funeral, of course, took place after Friday night Sabbath. Continue reading “Music Number Four: Talus Deposits – Robert Frederic Kenter”

The 5th C – ReVerse Butcher and Kylie Supski

The 5th C

 

 

 

Continue reading “The 5th C – ReVerse Butcher and Kylie Supski”

Martin and the Sea – Gideon Cecil

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”

Quiet Wife – Erin Vance

Quiet Wife

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”

1. Testimonies 2. When the Rainbow Falls from the Sky 3. How Things Look Back – Ifeoluwa Ayandele

Testimonies

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”

When the Show Must Go On – Trina Young

When the Show Must Go On

my magic sparks
but doesn’t light

it is not so
effervescent

your smile spreads
pretty, mine splits

a parlor trick
halving myself

you pull a dove Continue reading “When the Show Must Go On – Trina Young”

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