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“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

“LA COLLECTIONNEUSE” by Nicholas Beren

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Art by Moriah M. Mylod

1.

California mouth sore

gas station brass

 

where a rich black mass

is still in the window

 

The phone 

I use 

crackles 

and never 

makes much 

sense

I feel like 

I’ve read

the internet

too many 

times

and now I know

how it ends

we have 

plans 

to meet 

at eleven

But 

come eleven 

I’m the 

only one 

waiting

underneath 

the crumby 

don’t walk sign

that really 

just says walk 

in either orange

or blue

I always wonder 

what her cruelty means

She tells me 

it means nothing

 

3.

Hauntings take time 

you cannot haunt 

somewhere 

all at once 

and if you ever tried 

you wouldn’t understand 

what it truly means to haunt 

like a horse in the jungle 

the cool smell of chlorine 

the nearness of your dress

 

The final portion of this poem previously appeared in Caustic Frolic.
Nicholas Beren is a New Jersey native. In addition to his poetry, he has written film criticism and arts features for sundry outlets, online and in print. You can find him on twitter @BerenNicholas. He still lives in New Jersey.

“If the Dead Were in the Room I Would Say” by Jill Mceldowney

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Art by Moriah M. Mylod

When we started I thought 

                    —so that’s the way light tastes. 

I called light—future. 

 

            Now I feel its loss in my teeth, jaw, hands.  

My hair still smells like your hair.

I can’t think of my own body

                without thinking of yours, 

 

without thinking of swimming pools lit 

            by waves of lightning so close I can taste

their ozone and how there was a time when that taste was hope. 

 

How many dawns did I greet hoping 

            you had not stopped breathing in your sleep

 

or whatever we should call the blear

                between high and not high?

 

My love for you kept me awake—

       what little I knew then—

          watching over you, thinking that 

                if you died I would want to die too. 

 

I tried to love you like this: all or nothing

How many times did I shake you back to me? Do you remember 

 

what I said? I said

    here is my only life—take it. 

 

I mean if you’re breathing, stay with me. 

        I mean if you’re not

                stay with me. 

 

            If your hand is in my hair, leave it. 

If you are this hurt, 

            let it hurt. I can take it. Don’t ever

be done with me.

 

 

 

Jill Mceldowney is the author of the chapbook “Airs Above Ground” (Finishing Line Press).
She is a founder and editor of Madhouse Press. Her previously published work can be found in journals such a Prairie Schooner, Vinyl, Muzzle, Whiskey Island and other notable publications.

“Close Encounters of the Second Kind” by Phillip Spotswood

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Art by Moriah M. Mylod

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 

 

                                    Nothing emerges

                                    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

fastening fissures 

 

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.

“Voyeurs: After Viewing Picasso’s Le Reve” by Mare Leonard

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Art by Moriah M. Mylod 

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

“You Were Once Girl” by Kristin Garth

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Art by Moriah M. Mylod

they make a receptacle of pins — 

pale proxy still proximate to him, palmist 

whom they proffer pathology (absent

middle finger valleys mean they’re ruthless)

these cunning folk he sends away, to your

village, though you’re allowed to stay behind 

stone parapets in plaits, a veil demure,

a pupil with a higher left heart line 

deemed pure.  Sequestered, then you feel the sting,

the first of countless cuts.  No one is there

besides the chiromancer, your shrieking.

He asks if one of them did braid your hair.

It was the elder, her ominous palms recalled.

You were once girl they make a voodoo doll.

 

 

 

 

Kristin Garth is a Pushcart, Best of the Net & Rhysling nominated sonnet stalker. Her sonnets have stalked journals like Glass, Yes, Five:2:One, Luna Luna and more. She is the author of fourteen books of poetry including Pink Plastic House (Maverick Duck Press), Candy Cigarette Womanchild Noir (The Hedgehog Poetry Press), the forthcoming Flutter: Southern Gothic Fever Dream (TwistiT Press), The Meadow (APEP Publications) and Shut Your Eyes, Succubi (Maverick Duck). Follow her on Twitter:  (@lolaandjolie) and her website http://kristingarth.com

 

“Doors” by Lucy Whitehead

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Art by Moriah M. Mylod

the planchette spirals out 

of control      a giant dog howls 

in the coffee reading cracks

shadows swirl in the crystal 

ball      all the tarot cards are blank

 

the runes have shattered

the mirrors broken

the petals I burnt with our names 

come back      dead moths fly 

through the dollhouse windows 

white eyes flutter

in the palms of your hands

 

the moon has dimmed

the dolls are awake

your crystal pendulum

catches fire      the divining

coins land on their edges

the scrying bowl opens 

to an infinite well

 

the threads unwind

the trees are yawning

a light is shining 

from a split in the yew

tonight is the night

now is the time

this is the place where 

 

the souls pour through

 

 

 

 

 

Lucy Whitehead writes haiku and poetry. Her haiku have appeared in various international journals and anthologies and her poetry has been published or is forthcoming in Amethyst Review, Anti-Heroin Chic, Barren Magazine, Black Bough Poetry, Burning House Press, Collective Unrest, Electric Moon Magazine, Ghost City Review, Mookychick Magazine, Neon Mariposa Magazine, Pink Plastic House, Pussy Magic, Re-side, and Twist in Time Magazine. You can find her on Twitter @blueirispoetry.

“Blind Devotion” by Nick Quaglietta

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Art by Moriah M. Mylod

All crowd in the church-

A lifetime of suffering

For the sake of gossip.

 

Found poem, remix technique.

Source text: Pike, Christopher. Falling Into Darkness. New York: Pocket Books, 1990.

 

Blind Devotion

Nick Quaglietta began writing poetry as a teenager, with his first work in print appearing in his 1985 college yearbook. More recently he has become affiliated with a few local writing groups, including Connect and Heal in Chandler, Arizona.

“in the house of my body” by Mela Blust

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Art by Moriah M. Mylod

 

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

 

 

 

Mela Blust is a Pushcart Prize and three time Best of the Net nominee, and has appeared or is forthcoming in The Bitter Oleander, Rust+Moth, The Nassau Review, The Sierra Nevada Review, South Florida Poetry Journal, Collective Unrest, and many more.

Her debut poetry collection, Skeleton Parade, is available with Apep Publications.

She is Head Publicist and Social Media Manager for Animal Heart Press, and a contributing editor for Barren Magazine.

She can be followed at https://twitter.com/melablust.

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