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.
CLYDE: YOU’RE A SCARED HEARTLESS HORRIBLE LITTLE MAN–
EDGAR:you’re acting like a fool–
EDGAR:don’t you ever do that again–
EDGAR:Clyde ((where are you going
EDGAR:Clyde ((i’m sorry
EDGAR:Clyde ((please don’t leave me
EDGAR:Clyde ((i’m begging you
THE LIGHT, RIGHT BEFORE (IT GOES OUT)
we are eating our separate smoke in
your living room: you prop your broken
window open with a weapon-part when
the hot air coaxing us into a fine sweat
my body back into the last jail cell: for weeks
afterwards i wake up dragged out of my car
& my hands cuff-numb again in both our
beds: i’ve decided love is the awkward way
we dance around the word itself: so in the
interest of being transparent i am admitting
i am an expert at pretending to be asleep:
i have done it while another partner fucked
someone else in my bed next to me &
i have done it to stay home from grade
school & i have done it in jail to placebo
myself into stillness: i promise i am not
lying even when i say the same things as
i’ve said into similarly uncertain mouths:
love is me telling you how to devastate me
& you choosing not to: love is you wanting
me to believe all the awful things you assume
would make someone tell you to leave: or, it
is knowing we are pretending not to watch
each other move / liquid-like / right before
the light / goes out.
THE NEW JERSEY DEVIL STOPS BEING A PACIFIST AFTER WATCHING COPS BEAT ITS FRIENDS INTO THE PAVEMENT
The New Jersey Devil is being followed by an unmarked car (again) (today). The New Jersey Devil sits across from the jail-warden and looks at its own mugshot upside-down. The New Jersey Devil watches the camera watching it eat naked shit naked sleep naked sob naked glare back at it naked. The New Jersey Devil finds the only not-Bible book during the one un-solitary hour and it is Hamlet so thus reads each sentence twice then recites it back to itself like it is the Ghost and the voice-crack and the Accident and the scene-change all at once. The New Jersey Devil is told it is unsafe but the jail-warden is not telling the New Jersey Devil how it feels he is telling it how it is classified. The New Jersey Devil does not know how long it prayed to a sliver of sky before realizing it was just a brick wall’s painted taunt. The New Jersey Devil has handcuff scars for months after. Later, the New Jersey Devil learns a prayer exists in a lover’s language that begs the skulls of their enemies cracked open on rocks like brunch eggs. Later, the New Jersey Devil practices the script of its emergency contact number so often it recitals in its sleep. Now, the New Jersey Devil does not have it memorized (yet) (again). Now, the New Jersey Devil gets one phone call and it rings and rings and rings and rings and rings and rings and rings and rings and rings and rings and rings and rings and rings and rings and rings and rings and rings and rings and rings and rings and rings and rings and rings and rings and rings and rings and rings and rings and rings and rings and rings and rings and rings and rings and rings and rings and rings and rings and rings and rings and rings and rings and rings and rings and rings and rings and rings and rings and rings and rings and rings and
L. Reeman is an interdisciplinary archivist and poet haunting highway rest-stops. They are the author of INVENTION OF THE MOUTH (Dream Pop Press, 2019), and BAITED MEMORY (Ghost City Press, 2019), as well as other chapbooks, and they have work in the 2017 Bettering American Poetry anthology. They want to hear about your favorite bridge.
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.
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 futuristicbut I’m cloyingly nostalgic
well-read in the gothicabandoning
the conga line of bleached blondesto forcefeed the dying cat
Christmas crackers and charades
and wink if it’s a murderplaid 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 hersbut I’m not starving you
in my smart suitin 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 summera middy dress play
so even when her coat’s shinyI 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.
for a voice. Squelching arteries. Shine the jugular,
Upside down the garments
Of the Sun. Right-side up now, Watching her light spill out.
And this is how I’ll play,
This is how I play.
She knows more than she can handle,
She knows more than me,
A girl-child child-self holding a program for the apocalypse.
She dreams of heaven every night she runs away.
She dreams of heaven every night she can’t run away.
And this is how I play,
And this is what we play —
A symphony the susurrus of ancient leaves,
Worn down by a million solar winds.
Spines lying bare at the mother’s feet,
the poetry slipping out her teeth.
Us lying awake — him reaching, she running, we becoming
little nothings, all over again. Smash the keys.
The stars shine, all over again.
The seas rumble, the F Sharp screaming
against D Minor’s weeping –
all overwhelming again.
Emptied bellies growing fangs, together
The kids gang up on the weather.
Heal the ice caps by melting their knees into hot tarmac.
No ancestral fevers now to wipe the ash of the world with,
Just these songs. Just these songs,
Sang into the hollowed-out trunk
Of a dead tree. A prophecy
constellated in the stars. Brightly now
the fingers of children
dreaming themselves alive
between arpeggios and wet bed sheets.
The planet’s heart strings
in every child’s unheard
A Strange Joke
Sometimes you bruise a fruit
To make sure it’s real.
The songs of plastic
Have nowhere to go
But back into the
The hollowed-out hearts of their
Price tags. A scratch on this orchid
Won’t release the same
Geometry into the air
The form of bliss, the shape of scent.
The sugars in these melons
Won’t attract ants, not even in decay
Will they be squashed. If not for the
Fire the winds wouldn’t sing
Through them. She told me, “Here,
This flower, token of our
Love, look. It won’t ever die.” She placed it
in a vase full of water, a strange joke. Alone, I said,
“But it smells like nothing. Can we really
Call it love without ever having breathed life
Into it, without having gardened
Through debris and detriment, building from nothing
The roots needed to feed
The stories we shape – or is this enough,
A slide across the screen, the slippery
Borders between attraction and rejection,
Handing our love over to the anxiety
That nothing here was built to last past
The twenty-first century, so why should we ever
Get real flowers for each other? Why should
Anything living be kissed
into the lonely water of the flower vase,
To grow old, to wrinkle up and dry,
To die. Why risk it,
When all our foods have turned
More lifeless than stone?”
I want to be fed by the heat
That comes from fears overridden not
By staying somewhere in the middle,
Draining the feelings out of every sentence. I want
To be a vessel for the kind of dreams
That grow through even the worst decay —
But she never heard a word I said
As she sunk her head back into a pixelated wall
Further away than I could see. And that
Was the last I heard of her, for my phone never
Rang again. The apps stopped their pulsing for my attention
After I drowned the old thing in sugar and spice
And everything nice. The ants cling desperately
To the floor, the vacuum cleaner we bought
Isn’t strong enough to clear out
All this rot.
Dhiyanah Hassan is an artist, writer, and energy worker whose practice explores the relationships between art, storytelling, and healing. Her work seeks to connect the soul and soil of the internal worlds orbiting within us, finding transformative expressions of the wild, the mystical, and miraculous through artistic and multidisciplinary mediums, facilitating spaces and conversations where creativity is utilized as a catalyst for healing and trauma recovery. Dhiyanah’s poetry has appeared in sister-hood, OCCULUM, and Rambutan Literary. Website: http://www.bydhiyanah.com
This is a found poem. Source: Pike, Christopher. Hollow Skull. Hodder, 1998. Page 75
She has grown great
head slurped back
she saw starsgrin
This is a found poem. Source: Pike, Christopher. Hollow Skull. Hoddler, 1998. Page 76.
Originally from the hilly corner of Ohio, Mark Allen Jenkins’s poetry has appeared in Memorious, minnesota review, South Dakota Review, Every River on Earth: Writing from Appalachian Ohio, and Gargoyle. He recently completed a PhD in Humanities from the University of Texas at Dallas and currently teaches in Houston.
The ghost of Guillaume Apollinaire writes on the walls of dilapidated buildings. His calligrams get lost amidst the strangest graffiti.
The ghost of Jane Austen wanders through the Roman baths at Bath. In the steam of time she glimpses people that fall in and out of love.
The ghost of J.G. Ballard watches airplanes coming in and out of Heathrow Airport. In the names of airlines he discerns a secret code.
The ghost of Roland Barthes writes love letters without recipient. He tears them into pieces in order to keep only certain fragments.
The ghost of Charles Baudelaire keeps on hiding from his creditors. He moves from loft to loft when he sees dust dancing in the sun.
The ghost of Felice Bauer likes to take long walks through empty streets. She wears a pair of small boots wet by the August rain.
The ghost of Samuel Beckett keeps looking for crossroads. In each one he sits down to wait for who knows what while he examines stones.
The ghost of Roberto Bolaño works at a closed down detective agency. He goes thoroughly through the files of all unsolved cases.
The ghost of Jorge Luis Borges walks up and down the corridors of enormous libraries. He looks for an encyclopaedia that describes the limbo he lives in.
The ghost of André Breton wanders slowly through flea markets. He searches for uneven objects to marry them in dreamy ceremonies.
The ghost of Max Brod rescues papers that are thrown into the fire. He reads them all trying to find the signs of a masterpiece.
The ghost of Italo Calvino hunts for old maps. With soft, deft fingers he draws new cities on top of beautiful ancient metropolis.
The ghost of Albert Camus goes to bars to watch soccer games. The screaming passion of the patrons makes him smile with nostalgia.
The ghost of Raymond Chandler takes advantage of the happy hour at melancholic bars. He orders gimlets even if they come in empty glasses.
The ghost of Agatha Christie specializes in tasting poisons. She writes down her opinions in a small notebook bound in the nineteenth century.
The ghost of Arthur Conan Doyle designs nets for hunting fairies. He tests them in ancient forests where silence is the one and only king.
The ghost of Julio Cortázar smokes blond tobacco by the side of the Seine. In the flow of the river he glimpses the hair of suicidal women.
The ghost of Simone de Beauvoir sits in her usual chair at the café Les Deux Magots. She flips through a book with only blank pages.
The ghost of Gérard de Nerval takes his lobster out for a walk when the day dies. Amidst the shadows the red pet keeps changing form.
The ghost of Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa likes to go to seafood restaurants. He gets drunk on the different smells from the sea.
The ghost of Charles Dickens writes long love letters to the ghost of Ellen Ternan. He trusts in certain birds to deliver them.
The ghost of Marguerite Duras writes on a bench in a park covered with dry leaves. Her ideas materialize in Chinese characters.
The ghost of Sigmund Freud dusts his divan every afternoon. He sits on a chair in silent wait for a patient to knock gently at his door.
The ghost of Gabriel García Márquez stops beneath a storm of yellow butterflies. In the distance he sees the immortal glow of ice.
The ghost of Patricia Highsmith distrusts the calm of Switzerland. In the boats that cross the lakes she sees bloodstains.
The ghost of Christopher Hitchens argues against the existence of God. His audience are paintings of different divinities.
The ghost of Henry James explores vacant mansions. He calls dead children and servants by their names to keep him company.
The ghost of Milena Jesenská picks up letters from empty buildings. She looks for love stories hidden between the lines.
The ghost of James Joyce wanders lost through the streets of Dublin. He looks for guides that show the way to Molly Bloom.
The ghost of Franz Kafka hates insecticides. He tells himself that nobody knows which metamorphoses the night will bring.
The ghost of Pier Paolo Pasolini drives a silver convertible. He takes off his dark glasses to admire handsome young men smiling.
The ghost of Cesare Pavese haunts the house where Constance Dowling died. He keeps looking for the eyes of the actress.
“The Dead Sailors”
[A ghost story in 20 tweets]
1. The old port groans at midday. Dead sailors come out to watch the sun strike the waves. Eyes full of longing salt and terrible dreams.
2. Dead sailors get drunk on air and stale beer. Hands following routes drawn on forgotten maps. Voices hoarse with nostalgia and foam.
3. Dead sailors wait for the swirling mist to rise. “Something’s coming,” they whisper among themselves. Skin crawling with anticipation.
4. Dead sailors stare at a broken moon. Hoping it would give them a subject to speak of. Mouths agape with a thousand words unsaid.
5. Dead sailors dream of being alone at night. Dark waters around them like cold blankets. Fireflies swimming through the enormous silence.
6. Dead sailors walk slightly hunched over. Carrying the weight of gigantic invisible ships. Feet leaving prints full of muddy water.
7. Dead sailors usually get moonburned. Skin crawling under the light of a million distant stars. Air full of stinging bees of freshness.
8. Dead sailors like to read bedtime stories to themselves. Childhood memories shimmering in the shadows. Words floating like dark pollen.
9. Dead sailors pray for rain. Looking for dark, heavy clouds inside themselves. Palms turned up in order to feel drops caressing them.
10. Dead sailors watch the sun rise over the sea. Old songs pouring from their parched lips. Eyes blinking against the first light of the world.
11. Dead sailors collect messages in bottles. Never reading them but just staring at them. Hoping their content will be revealed in dreams.
12. Dead sailors have nightmares scorched by thirst. Waking up coughing in the middle of the night. Tongues filled with the taste of sand.
13. Dead sailors keep waiting for the flood. Hearts beating slowly in their sunken chests. The smell of imminent disaster in the air.
14. Dead sailors grow tired of staring at the ocean. Hands clutching rusty compasses and torn maps. Wind howling around them like a madman.
15. Dead sailors sing to attract sirens. Voices full of iodine and foam, longing and regret. Lyrics talking about forgotten languages.
16. Dead sailors bathe in moonlight. Hands massaging tired arms and feet. Ancient beads of sweat glistening like perfect diamonds.
17. Dead sailors walk backwards. Hairs at the nape of their necks bristling with fear. Distant footsteps getting closer and closer.
18. Dead sailors listen to old radio tunes. Ears pricked up to catch trembling voices of ancestors lost at sea between bursts of static.
19. Go with the flow, dead sailors pray. May it take you far away from home. End of the air or end of the sea. Whatever comes first.
20. Who rules the deep blue sea? dead sailors sing. Amidst the waves, amidst the storms, amidst the rage. Who rides the chilled wide sea?
Mauricio Montiel Figueiras (Guadalajara, Mexico, 1968) is a writer of prose fiction and essays, as well as a poet, translator, editor and film and literary critic. His work has been published in magazines and newspapers in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Italy, Peru, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States. He has been Resident Writer for the Cheltenham Festival of Literature in England (2003) and The Bellagio Study and Conference Center in Italy (2008). In 2012 he was appointed Resident Writer for the prestigious Hawthornden Retreat for Writers in Scotland. Since 1995 he lives and works in Mexico City. Since 2011 he has been working on a Twitter novel, The Man in Tweed, in part through the account @LamujerdeM. Instagram: mauricio_montiel_figueiras.
There was a girl named Swan Elias. I don’t remember what grade she turned up in. She was overweight, nice and sweet, and had blue, cool blue eyes and light, wavy brown hair. I would watch her erase her paper. It seemed her hand and the eraser were made of the same textures, gummy soft. And warm. It seemed she could erase her paper or incorrect markings so effortlessly. Because there was, in my mind, this special oneness between her hand and the eraser. A certain chemical reaction which made the eraser really malleable.
Sometimes, when maybe I erased, I erased too hard and could leave a mark. A streak. But she could erase really cleanly. Leaving no tell-tale sign. Not that it mattered. We were allowed to erase. But it was a kind of magic she possessed and performed and for some mysterious reason it caught my attention. I would become transfixed and allured by her head turning toward me with what I now imagine to be a seductive and sweet smile while she worked her wonder. I wonder if she was doing something to my heart and mind in that moment. Hypnotizing me slowly, warmly, and softening my heart, relaxing my zaniness, and releasing my uncontrollable urge to please. It was like a you can be near me look she gave, and back off a little and watch. You can swim in my electrical, starspinning aura. All those things kids, we kids were attracted to. Sparkles, bangles, gold, magenta, azure, rainbow colors of glitter swirling in Swan Elias’ aura while she smiled at me. And I swirled with them. I was them for that moment and then would land in a pure stream of milky-colored happiness.
Blue eyes, plump, warm hand. Clean white paper. Pink eraser. Charcoal pencil shaped to a fine point. A cylindrical hive of possibility humming at the tip. A cylindrical hive of possibility humming into a fine point. Shavings and curls of shavings resting sweetly in a metal canister—future beehives. No, future bird nests. And I swear, I think Swan Elias wore a head band with birds and baby birds hatching from their nests. Her clothes are in my mind now brushed into a fine velvet. Everything was fine about her. Her sweat beads, her chewed lips. She was good enough to eat. I must have been in love with her, though I didn’t know it. Her big, strong marks of letters, cursive on her paper. Her wrong answers. All of it was acceptable to me. All of her. All of Swan Elias acceptable to me. Swan Elias and her golden heart.
Danielle Notaro grew up in Easton, Pennsylvania and has been writing, acting, & directing for a zillion years in the Lehigh Valley. She also taught acting & playwriting to kids in the Lehigh Valley as well in Boston where she studied acting with Reality Theater. She participated in several Les/Bi writing workshops. In NYC, she studied with Karen Malpede, Jean Claude Van Italie (Open Theater Playwrites) and at the Henry St. Settlement she studied with Crispin Larengeira. In Vermont she was in a longstanding writing workshop led by Cora Brooks. In 1982, she joined The Feminist Writer’s Guild and started a theater group, The Onsemble Theater. She has published poems in Women Spirit, Gaia, Womankind, Juxtaposition, Love Your Rebellion, Ovungue Siamo and written a few pieces for Healthy Living (a Rodale newsletter). She published her first book of poems and some prose in 2013 entitled, Limn the Mask. In 2019, she released a CD of pieces from her book w/ improv music entitled, Limn the Chord and won Outstanding Spoken Word Artist from the Lehigh Valley Music Awards.
Burning House Press are excited to welcome YANINA SPIZZIRRI as our SEPTEMBER 2019 guest editor! As of today YANINA will take over editorship of Burning House Press online for the full month of SEPTEMBER.
Submissions are open from today – 1st SEPTEMBER and will remain open until 23RD SEPTEMBER.
Hello Laura, thank you for taking the time to speak with me here on Burning House Press! I love the complex music of your work. What’s your relationship to soundand the oral tradition of poetry?
Always, in testament to its fundamentally oral heritage, sound has stood at the forefront of my work: that is, I have always tried to pay homage to the ancient verbal roots of poetry with an acute focus on just how moving sound can be. It is probably, in the words of Harold Bloom, my own anxiety of influence: the writers that haunt me the most are those who expand the malleable state of sound. There is no single prescriptive path which sound can take in poetry, and I think that appeals to the rebel in me. And I’ve studied it quite intensely really: I often apply scansion to Latin poetry to see the specific moments of gravity and levity which bring a line alive. And, of course, I always read my work out loud as I write: it may have one life on the page but it has another one aloud.
“the writers that haunt me the most are those who expand the malleable state of sound”
You had the chance to work at Dylan Thomas’s birthplace in Swansea. What was that like?
My summer there was the single most academic season of my young life. At first I’d planned to stay for a week or so, but that soon turned into a couple of months and I’m sure I learnt the equivalent of a whole degree in that time. I travelled from a small village in Carmarthen to Swansea each day, where I walked up the old hill of Cwmdonkin Drive and through the small black gate of number five which Dylan had pushed so many times. My time was largely spent reading, writing and researching his work. I wrote essays for The Dylan Thomas Society and saw a performance of Under Milk Wood. I drank in the pubs he drank in. I slept in his bedroom a night or two, with the old gas lamp still burning. I visited the boathouse in Laugharne which he shared with his wife, and even interviewed an old neighbour once. Yes, my broken old bookcase still models three rows of Dylan and always will. It was the summer to always remember. Continue reading “An Interview with Poet Laura Potts”→
Farah, welcome! Thanks for speaking to me here on Burning House Press. You’re seventeen and not only an accomplished poet, but also the editor-in-chief of Sugar Rascals, your own literary journal for teens. What is it about poetry that calls to you? What role does it play in your life?
Thanks for having me!
Poetry has always been the perfect outlet for my joy, anger, sorrow, and opinions. It means that I can come home after a long day, usually tired, and turn my emotions into something beautiful, something that other people can enjoy and connect with. A relief from the tedious busyness of life, reading and writing poetry forces me to slow down, spend some time in other people’s brains, and relish in the incredible complexities of language. Though it’s occasionally a little draining, if I don’t write for a week, I start to suffocate with words.
The adventure of poetry really calls to me, too. I love the tough questions, defensive answers, confessions, secrets, glorifications, histories, judgments, and other elements that poems can present in a condensed form. I love how you can control this kind of adventure. I love how you can use language to its limit. I love how this kind of raw, pristine communication is of endless potential. And I love how a poem can truly be anything.
“if I don’t write for a week, I start to suffocate with words”
Hello Florence! Thanks so much for agreeing to speak with me here on Burning House Press. I’m fascinated by your bio: you’re a PhD student in physics who also writes poetry. I’ve got to ask, why? What draws you to both physics and poetry?
Hi Amee! Thanks a lot for this opportunity. Oddly enough, the driving force was, & still is, the same in both cases: a thirst for equilibrium, the urge to build an extension upon my collage-like experience of the world; to challenge myself out of my comfort zone, towards areas left uncharted on my maps; to counterbalance an excess of centripetence; to overwrite certainties; to ride a Trojan horse within my own fortress, then to open the gates to cross-pollination.