Disturbing Images || Disturbing Content
By A.R. Salandy
My mom’s nerves were fraught
As cars sped down the open road
And crashed and burned just in front
Of our hatchback run on cheap oil-
And driven by a woman lost.
My Girlfriend Doesn’t Believe Me When I Tell Her These Things
By Rami Obeid
I fondle a bag of welfare cheques, amphetamines, and benzos
While my parents are passed out on the couch,
Lying on top of each other
I dream of broadband by the sea
Where the valleys of love and milk roam onwards without interruption
See A Psychiatrist
By Yash Seyedbagheri
the hoi polloi snarls see a psychiatrist
swallow your feelings, swallow this pill
don’t ask for friends, be contented with masturbation and Netflix
don’t whine because you’re alone,
I’m alone, but who’s the asshole, you psychiatrist obsessed pill-pounding pricks?
By Mphae Mashifane
The blood dried but smells all the same
And the bitter aroma awakens my body
To the pain suffered by yours
They ask me where it hurts
I point to a perfectly swept pavement
Like the Ivy Takes the House
By Yelaina Anton
I will learn to unlove you
like the ivy takes the house.
I will strangle every brick
of the home I wanted to build with you,
and you will wish you had cut me down
By Isaial Duey
my catholic mother scolds me
for not knowing how to pray the rosary
then tells me to understand the man
who groped me when i faked my sleep
By Renee Agatep
found that raccoon
and it walked right up on his porch
and they named him Lou Diamond Phillips
and let him live in the bathtub
and fed him Lunchables and falafel
until the landlord found out?
He really misses LDP.
Arguing with a British Racist
By Bethan Hay
Shall we agree to disagree?
No sir, I disagree with that.
We are not talking about the
colour of a cup of tea you
By Oluwadare Popoola
little fire burns a child,
scars grow in cubits.
tenses deliver the present,
scalp splitting & child is thinning
Dismantle the Zodiac
By Elizabeth Bates
Libra lost her balance, Sagittarius struck an arrow
through the bull, the goat, the ram, the fish;
Scorpio and Cancer pinched the fair maiden,
Aquarius doused her in water, and Leo ate what was leftover;
but lo! and behold Gemini is still two-faced.
By Matt Maday
I emerged from bedlam
beholden to an
outdated outmoded organic
Pissed in the Kitchen
By Rich Giptar
Swing crack back the fridge, milk waterfalls
Snouting from a jar you crushed somehow
Hey molars, deal with the broken glass
Guess you forgot this, made a fire
Milky sprawl quick lick the linoleum
By Shannon Frost Greenstein
The scars on my knuckles ripped open today
My knees aching against the tile.
The insurance company says the scale says
So it will be this way for a while
I wish I was a badass,
By Charlotte VanWerven
I’m not a punk — I don’t snort
lines of coke or lines of free verse and
I am a fucking villanelle, sometimes an
epigram, sniffling into lines of Neruda,
choking on enjambment and
my own snot.
mosh pit souvenir
By Tom Zimmerman
flare-red guitar pick
Jesus Advocated Direct Action
By Brooke Kolcow
I bought someone else’s grandma groceries on Sunday.
God bless you, she said.
Temporarily turned me from community cashier into community convert.
I still believe
In the fundamental goodness of human beings.
By Scott Bryan
When I attempted my exit/(boxcutter from thumbs to elbows)/
The [weeks of (too much)] alcohol must have saved me/
*blood too thin, heart too weak/to bleed out*/your honor/
Because the alternative is that/ some ancient deity/
communicating in dead-speak/forced me to live on, because/… ‘purpose’?/
Who can deal with that shit?
Pain Not Pangs
By M.S. Evans
Birth breaks your bones,
cracks you open like a lobster.
Meat; raw, exposed.
On the train
By Amy Ellis
Aren’t you the cool guy:
reading William S. Burroughs
in your sunglasses.
By Amy Cameron
I have never seen road maintenance being done
I have only seen
High-vis men drinking tea from flasks.
Have you ever read the Shoemaker’s Elves?
I think they might have made a comeback.
When we go for our walk, we see roadkill
By Jeanna Paden
the spine lays straight and flat against the concrete
with the intestines nestled at the base of the bones
plump and full
That sound she makes in bed
By L Scully
you take me to get a nose piercing to match your own
you make sure they’re on opposite sides so when we kiss the rings don’t get stuck
they do anyway
By Colin Lubner
I wrote a novel, once. One character
was in fact God. I killed Them at the midpoint
to raise certain stakes. But the survivors
only laughed, talked behind Their buried
back. Thank God, they said. Thank God.
Christmas Night Skating in Minneapolis, 1994
By Zebulon Huset
Slush lining the gutters, we cruised down the parking structure’s
switchbacks, pumping curves as Teddy’s boombox blasted Op Ivy
and the security guard didn’t give a shit and kept watching Night Court
reruns on the tiny booth tv. Teddy’d never found a vein back then—
had never felt cockroaches ticking under his thinned shin skin.
By Aleah Dye
There is something still
inside of me. It used to shout and bang
on pots, but it has died today.
The quiet hole subsumes me,
no more wit or want or play.
By Caleb Berg
He said: What do you think about the gofer part? And I, having spent my day hovered over the thousands of individual holes in my yard, gun in hand, hair hung down like tattered blinds stuck to the sweat on my face, I said: Fuck the gofer and fuck your poem.
Hair sticks out from under my armpits.
So does cellulite from the sides of my thighs.
Society guffaws, beauty echoes simpering sighs–
their dirty footsie before my unbelieving eyes–
But my toe sticks out, too, to settle all scores,
from sidelines to front-lines — won’t toe the line no more!
WHEN I FUCK THIS UP
By D.T. Robbins
My daughter is the same age I was
when my dad was the same age I am.
I wonder if she’ll forgive me
like I forgave him
when I fuck this up, too.
By Abigail Swire
Pink is the color of girly girls, the ones who have it all, the ones who are taken care of.
The color of my ballerina dreams and villainous hair bows, snow-cold cheeks, and endings.
Pink is the color of pretending.
Nothing fits in my pocket. I carry life in a basket on my head, strap it to my back while I work the fields,
tie it up in a heavy heart knowing it will give out.
When I wear carpenter pants, they ask why I dress like a boy.
In the bathtub, I let the dirt fall away. I see a bloom I never noticed, pink and shapely.
It was just a spot. A dot really, on the left breast over my heart. This flaw is wrong.
I pick with a pin, then a knife, deeper, past muscle and bone, to the heart of the matter,
opening myself to the air,
but there is no end to what’s wrong.
HE HAS FORGOTTEN HIMSELF AND FOUND ONLY APPETITES
By William Bortz
mom abandoned god once her father died
she said, any man who can’t remember
his daughter’s name but knows the way
to the nearest liquor store won’t find their
way to heaven & no hell could be worse than that
By Connor Orrico
Peaceful protesters protect each other
from eager predation by the police.
Open palms are raised to plea with raised arms:
“Keep the peace!” and “Don’t shoot!” —
“Black lives matter.”
By Julene Tripp Weaver
The ginger poodle was saved
from becoming a stir-fry in Korea,
brought to the United States in a crate,
now he’s growing used to living a dog’s
life of leisure with his new humans,
though sometimes he spits up blood.
my mother sobs &
By Noreen Ocampo
I collapse under the weight of not-
gravestones & would-be epitaphs. god cracks open
my rib cage, picking the prettiest bone in the
smoothest white. my body sheds me. I regret
all the time spent kneeling in the pews.
David Centorbi Presents,
Something profound for you:
urinating outside under the moon-cold air,
piss-steam rising, is all the physics
you need to know to get by with living.
By Jonathan Cardew
Little Miss Muffet
Sits on the couch
It’s time to dump her and move on.
This issue is dedicated to those who fight the demons of drug addiction and to those who love them. If you or someone you know is struggling, please reach out for help and know those of us at Versification are always here to read your words.
If you have lost someone you love to drug addiction, please know the words published in this issue were published with compassion.
*No animals or humans were harmed for the sake of photography
TO READ ABOUT OUR AUTHORS, PLEASE SEE ‘JULY: AUTHORS EXPOSED’