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studies in the high domestic

From Jupiter Rising, Stories from the Zodiac, by Christine Simokaitis

Now, let’s unpack what’s going on in your fourth house, which is the place in your chart that has to do with home, ancestry, foundations. Since, as we know, your first house is in Gemini, that means that your fourth house is in Virgo. Common associations for Virgo: hard working, perfectionistic, purifying, introspective, critical.

            Some say that people with a Virgo fourth house will have a perpetual feeling of “unsettledness” at home, or a sense that something is “lacking,” or they feel as though they are on an eternal quest to “perfect” their home. But, astrological signatures are complicated. Besides the houses and the signs, there are all the planets and their placements in your birth chart to factor into the equation.

Continue reading “From Jupiter Rising, Stories from the Zodiac, by Christine Simokaitis”

Playing House, by Jenn Lee

At nineteen she decamps to an apartment in the western suburbs with her boyfriend, Tanner Walsh. This is not her first time living outside her parents’ home. There had been that whole year[1] [2] [3] at the university downstate — a semester in a traditional dorm room and then a desperately traumatic semester in a suite situation with three other girls who had all already been living with each other for a whole semester and who had a system and everything that went along with it (“intruder” is barely the word). The point being: she had lived alone[4] before.

Continue reading “Playing House, by Jenn Lee”

STUDIES IN THE HIGH (GAUDY) DOMESTIC // original images & (evolving?) links-library

image by Cas Stockford

Continue reading “STUDIES IN THE HIGH (GAUDY) DOMESTIC // original images & (evolving?) links-library”

Keeping Apparitions, by Kelly Gray

There is a ghost for each crack of the child’s heart. Her ghosts are neither good nor bad. They bless, they poison, they offer deliverance through wood and poetry, through empty buckets and walking sticks. The ghosts take the form of wild beasts, of her parents, of a long hallway, a warmth pressing between her legs.

They are all things at once while reflecting her nothingness. They are born from her dreams where the she-monsters cry, where the mermaids drown, where the warm rush of his arms in the river made her see God.

Continue reading “Keeping Apparitions, by Kelly Gray”

two poems by Lisa Marie Basile

saint of homeless shelters

imagine a whole room of us, braiding one another’s hair. imagine our hair, blackthick, imagine how it was braided together, by strand and by time. three girls brushing my hair at a wide dirty window, while six strangers smoke cigarettes in the garden below. at least half of them will not live. imagine us girls in the window looking down. how half of us will become our mothers. we eat a communal dinner, speak a communal prayer, sorrow spilling tang and blood water, catastrophe hands ripping wet bread and steeple prayers. dio, we say, are you here now? a church bell tolls, the summer light burns silent, doors shut, bodies writhe, and we think we are saved. imagine a whole house of women battered and bad, bodies crushed by ill and their children. waiting on god. count until forever and that is the sound I remember.

Continue reading “two poems by Lisa Marie Basile”

Sophie Calle Triptych, by Mike Corrao

1

Sophie Calle exits her studio. Sophie Calle enters short hallway. Sophie Calle opens her neighbor’s door. Sophie Calle opens her neighbor’s pantry. Sophie Calle eats her neighbor’s oatmeal. Sophie Calle drinks her neighbor’s coffee. Sophie Calle does not clean her bowl or mug. Sophie Calle documents each unfamiliar tenant who passes through the apartment. Sophie Calle notes in her head the stains on the furniture and grime in the woodgrain of the walls. Sophie Calle asks someone about rent and does not receive an answer. Sophie Calle cuts her nail on the sharpened grease of the stovetop. Sophie Calle spills coffee on her lap and doesn’t pat it dry.

Continue reading “Sophie Calle Triptych, by Mike Corrao”

five letters by della watson

dear _____,

i have been awake at all the hours, and asleep. there is not a second that hasn’t played both sides. sometimes i hear the first train emerging from the tunnel in the morning, a song like blown breath over wine glass. i know my time by the sliver of light cutting through the break in the drawn curtains.

the first person has already been caught by facial recognition software. 

when people get plastic surgery do they have to update their passports.

i want to be more invisible.

so many electrical appliances make beeping or dinging sounds these days. the microwave, the kettle, the refrigerator, the washing machine, the dryer, the dishwasher. even the lightbulbs buzz. there is no such thing as silence. 

the only cure is to make more noise.

_____

Continue reading “five letters by della watson”

I discover color: 1965, by Matthew Goulish

– 1 –

I make this approach examining fundamentals. Consider a fundamental an element present in every instance. In the practice of performance, the fact of the floor constitutes a fundamental. By this definition, every instance of performance involves a floor, a ground. Can we imagine a performance without a floor? Even the aerial performers hang on the trapeze bar, a suspended ground that swings in arcs. They may stand on it. The astronaut in zero gravity encounters a floor in the space capsule’s every surface. Out in the void … I will get to that. For now, in this demonstration, I lift the largest airplane, the P-25, to display for the camera. A moment ago it rested on the now-empty space of the blue square: each square a color; each color a floor – foundations becoming grounds of different climates and degrees.

Continue reading “I discover color: 1965, by Matthew Goulish”

Snakes in the Garden, by Raquel Gomez Savoy

Snakes weave in and out of their spaces, they are hardly seen or heard or anticipated. They usually simply appear, without warning.
Usually they scare the fuck out of you, and you jump and try to escape and while you do— while you’re running, the snakes will follow. They’re hungry.

Continue reading “Snakes in the Garden, by Raquel Gomez Savoy”

WITH LOVE AND CHROMA AND RAGE AND LOVE, by Stephanie Anderson

I pull the muted cream light over the cream

bed and the cream curtain

and the cream book. The day diffuses.

I consider some advice to consider my grey

hair when going on the market.

I pull the cream sky over my sternum. The word

Continue reading “WITH LOVE AND CHROMA AND RAGE AND LOVE, by Stephanie Anderson”

from Disassemblage, by Emily Barton Altman

No one asked for the tower

the tower was simply there—

Continue reading “from Disassemblage, by Emily Barton Altman”

three pieces by Sara Matson

<fever>

fingertips tracing the hall        bumping

captured memories in thrift store frames

fabric walls swirled + stumbled

plastic champagne nightmare

aged by ghastly spirits

curled + feline in voyeuristic rage

i am six + vomiting on the carpet

old                   enough to knock

wall to wall berber moist

the smell mind meltingly distinct

mid coitus       shame anger    childpuke

fear      my sadness stained

my character nightshirt + baggy socks

while dad covered crotch w/ sheet

yelling             squint              adjusting to the overhead

light                 bowing my head to vintage porcelain

running the shower

(mom thought: steam helps sickly      babes)

palm to cheek watching

my mother dress

i understood    b/w

polyester silk layers

grief was not a gown

to be slid out of

but a skin to be licked

in tight corners

for a better fit

sitting denim cross eyed style

(two minute pee warning) hair matted to face

+ toilet seat     my puffy slits tracing

bicycle wallpaper bloomers to aged tile to

original stainless toothbrush holder +

even pre-orgasmic my mother is a stunning

wreck-age        her salt-blasted wood

elegant breasted mahogany   stern +

oiled to withstand

a fevered mind

<night terrors>

my room overlooks

snowy garbage            bins +

family photos stuck to crusted

albums              an ancient

flat faced cat presses its nose

beneath the surface

to drink           everything is lit red

hole in my palm made of flashlight

(antithetical religious imagery)

i keep sunshine caged + growling

             locked

from the outside          flicktailed

   babies haunt

nightly i scream + sing

never remember the dream just the

melody (forgotten) before it ever left

+ i feel his warmth on my chest

as an unnamed planet dies inside

(the loss          of an entire world)

you tell me it’s time    from the doorframe

+ you’ve never said anything more

horrific            or true            

i was given an $800 backgammon set

like a rare origin tale

sprinkled w/ blooms in seasonal varieties

jealousy striped but functional

(mother’s burgundy ceramic glassware)

i am blessed to know different types of

hot pepper      burning eyes twinkling

like a beacon    knobbled wood to palm

sliding down stairs +

swimming to the fridge

while on fire

<bedroom>

sticky paged corridor

(technicolor ode) to

youthful sanctuary

emblazoned backwards across

wet or bloody mirror (hair dye)

wheat paste tissue      muddied

astroturf was cheaper than paint

+ dad had an industrial stapler

            safety pins at each corner

            to hang posters           secrets

leopard print bed bugs eating my sadness

this is how i remember

a red doored cardboard house little

brother chewing on pony hair

chunky baby spit in brushed plastic

helpless rage (he ran into my fist)

sara, how could you do such a thing!

textbook witch

inching the world by word

sleight of hand quarter

of an ear          left nibbled +

personified by loss                 grief

jeans tucked into boots

knotted            violence

maintaining structural order

walking on duct tape

to the bus home


Sara Matson’s poetry has been nominated for Best of the Net 2019 + can be found in The Journal Petra, Bone Bouquet, Pulp Poets Press, and elsewhere. Sara’s chapbook, electric grandma is available from Another New Calligraphy and her chaplet, Forgotten: Women in Science is available from Damaged Goods Press. Sara lives in Chicago + Tweets as @skeletorwrites.

Banner image by Olivia Cronk

Continue reading “three pieces by Sara Matson”

ON SHAYE SAINT JOHN, SUPERMODEL OF MANNEQUINS, HOLLYWOOD'S MOST INFLUENTIAL BEAUTY by Ashley Miranda

Every Time You Watch Hoarders, You Become Infuriated

Continue reading “ON SHAYE SAINT JOHN, SUPERMODEL OF MANNEQUINS, HOLLYWOOD'S MOST INFLUENTIAL BEAUTY by Ashley Miranda”

two pieces by Leia Penina Wilson

volta OR she says children are born by being shoveled out of wolves’ bodies, but who does the shoveling? are all wolves, therefore, females; are all females, therefore, as vicious as wolves? tell me, my heart, what reality is

                        —i drain the nightingale

shove you in & through the moan

            tendering

            interior of poem    these trained claws

pulling skin from—how do you say—the way a tongue celebrates its obsession   

accomplishing verbbody/ verbbody/ verb

wetverb/ wetverb/ wet    i drop

your bones from sky    get marrow

starve what desire i have

violence

i have so much violence

another!

another!

bring me another nightingale

Continue reading “two pieces by Leia Penina Wilson”

from The Star Cabins, Sara Wainscott

I’m sorry I am [n]ever seen

Alone   

I look for you every day

A deer in two overlaid poses

Continue reading “from The Star Cabins, Sara Wainscott”

from dream states, by Anne K. Yoder

Paula told me she was housesitting when a boy appeared. She walked into the house and through a long hallway and at the end stood a child who looked chalky, and then dissolved. This kept happening again and again.

Continue reading “from dream states, by Anne K. Yoder”

Miranda in Juno, by Samantha Louise Talbot/ Sam Lou Talbot

A friend commented on my Instagram “Dancing in My Dressing Gown to Jacqueline du Pré.” Said it put her in mind of Miranda July. Provocation over lettuce, and late-night texts. Conversations in kitchens with celebrity friends who’d popped around for a cup of Oolong tea to discuss the latest dilemma (Miranda, not me). An aficionado of constant curation. Inviting the viewer in, mid-conversation. Ambiguous narratives. Personal, even intimate. But not quite. A gauzy beauty, manicured locks, quirky, vata. Zipping about like a dragonfly. But there were slower posts. In one she’d put an empty bottle of soda in between her body, and the lens, and proceeded to pull off her jeans. The shape of the bottle accentuated her derriere. The colour camouflaged her. What a trick.

Continue reading “Miranda in Juno, by Samantha Louise Talbot/ Sam Lou Talbot”

Diagram 5, by David Alejandro Hernandez

With fraying certainty did Linda handle the folds of her origami original. Where before had been pristine squares of folding paper there was now a complete failure on the part of paper. The squares had had a gloss and that gloss had met its foil in Linda’s troubled folds. Linda tut-tutted herself and variously rattled at her desk. First, two hands to one of the four legs. Then, two good grips on either edge of the desktop, widthwise. Lastly, a pair of arms under the center drawer, and a kick at the side-cabinet, for good measure. The latest paper square, set squarely on the rubber mat, could hardly be expected to shrug its shoulders. These glossy paper squares battled a good deal of battle. Proper soldiers.

Continue reading “Diagram 5, by David Alejandro Hernandez”

The dark should be safe, by Emma Lee

It’s like a tap dripping. None of her taps are guilty, but the sense of unease pools and spills across her floor.

Continue reading “The dark should be safe, by Emma Lee”

Mommy, by Nikki Wallschlaeger

        

           For Sage 

Mommy, I need some help. Watch cartoons with me, Mommy. You my mommy. Henry’s a nice pup. I’m hungry, Mommy. I want some pizza. I want some juice. Mommy, I got poop pants. I come outside with you, Mommy. Thanks. Read books with me, Mommy. Snuggle with me. I don’t want to take a nap. Mommy, help, help. You a nice Mommy. When is Daddy coming home. Where is brother. It’s yucky. I don’t like it, I don’t like it, Mommy. Nice dog. Fast race car. My bike, my bike, Mommy. No doggy. Henry’s a nice dog. Give my Mommy a kiss, carry me Mommy. Where is bus. BUS! Find a different one. This. Come on, Mommy. What’s that noise. Go find treasure for you. Mermaids, sharks. Mommy what you doing. Daddy’s at work?  Brother is at school. Take a bath. I want to take a bath, Mommy. Splash Mommy. Boats. Submarine. Mommy, I got owie. Right there. How about some cookies. Fine. You stop it, you do it. I found something, Mommy. Open. Yummy food. I want blue, yellow. I want to help you, Mommy. Mine.

________________

Nikki Wallschlaeger’s work  has been featured in The Nation, Brick, American Poetry Review, Witness,   Kenyon Review, POETRY, and others. She is the author of the full-length collections Houses (Horseless Press 2015)  and Crawlspace (Bloof 2017) as well as the graphic book I Hate Telling You How I Really Feel (2019) from Bloof Books. She is also the author of an artist book called “Operation USA” through the Baltimore based book arts group Container, a project acquired by Woodland Pattern Book Center in Milwaukee. Her third collection, Waterbaby, is forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press in 2021. // @nikkimwalls

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Banner image by Olivia Cronk

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