This issue of VERSIFICATION
is dedicated to
hate, abuse, oppression, and injustice.
WARNING: DISTURBING CONTENT
By Shufei Ewe
420 sifts by quickly,
everyone is still getting baked––
the powder just looks different.
9:47 |By Stephen J Golds
in the morning
eating breakfast out of a ripped plastic bag in a parking lot of an isolated
seven-eleven with gut ache and the shakes wondering if she was right after all.
By Gina Marie Bernard
the very first time, i am twelve—
unscheduled, ill prepared.
blood trickles; i imagine an arroyo.
he grinds my cheek to carpet
and prompts me not to tell.
Evening Walk after the Divorce
By Kip Knott
Two cops stand over the body of a man
I’ve sometimes given loose change.
They wrap him in plastic. In the body bag’s zip
I hear my ex-wife brushing her teeth.
Atom bomb days
By Tyler Martin
Smoking outside in summer heat
And wondering what an atom bomb would do
To this humble, shitty little street.
By Sara Dobbie
Cast your line and I open my mouth,
the hook slides down my throat
to anchor in my gut,
and I hear you assuring me
that I can’t feel a thing.
No, I don’t want Top Surgery
By Shaemus Spencer
I wish I could walk around
Full beard, tits out,
Without being called a goddamn queer
By some old man at the grocery store.
This binder fucking hurts.
you are not a can of beans
By Mackenzie Moore
good things don’t escape expiration dates— use ‘em while ya got ‘em
you can be: BPA free / certified organic / pasture raised / sustainably sourced
And still be: rotting / shriveled / tasteless
We The People
By Chris L. Butler
We don’t need your education
We condemn the poison you feed the nation
We reject your financial enslavement
We call it a revolution, not anarchy
We just want to be free
By BF Jones
Inside me, there is another me
Diminished by shame
Inside the other me there is
A very small me
Shrivelled by disgust.
By Denzel Scott
A male mallard has
lost his same sex pair mate. In
mourning, mounts the corpse.
Words By Elizabeth Bates
Job Description: Teach these students the difference between Arthur Miller and F. Scott Fitzgerald.
(Unspoken) Job Description: Be vigilant in watching for suicidal signals and scars on wrists as a mandated reporter;
Maintain awareness of students who are starving and on the brink of homelessness; and
Prepare to listen to young women who choose to tell you they are pregnant
before they tell their own parents
3:38 Ante Meridian
A Debut By Armando Gonzalez
The dead are piled way too high
Hogs are feasting on flesh and are always hungry
Bleeding fingers search for a lawyer
and there is no light in this grave.
A Note on Parenthood
By Richard LeDue
What you learn from diarrhea
can’t be taught.
By Julie Easley
Even dogs piss on
me as crowds pass by, in the
night the howls are mine
Lot #84, Miss Betty.
By Damon McKinney
I hate the sound of my voice
Echoing in my ears the failures I’ve endured
The nasally squeals of my inner-coward
It betrays me
I hate my voice.
For Danny in the Elevator
with two stab wounds to the chest
By Teal Fitzpatrick
Remember, your mother is knitting
a cap from burnt umber yarn and
when it is finished
she will unravel each row
and begin again.
Cities Are To File Chapter 9
By Brandon Noel
Carnival food trucks pop up around the city,
Jesus has amnesia, wanders through every empty
Sears, beneath a blue paper mask, unrecognized
like the rest of us, keenly aware of each breath now,
I wanna die penniless, a wisp in this world’s smoke.
By Stephanie Jacobs
I’ve been walking through life as a
high school slut.
When actually I was the girl
who got raped
and had no idea what to do with myself after.
By L Scully
being polyamorous at twenty
was not all it was cracked up to be
neither bed was comfortable
By Amy-Jean Muller
Please strike the space on my neck with your balled up fist.
The curve where the skin meets my shoulder.
So the place where you bite down
and breathe pathetically
looks more like a bruise and not a mark where your mouth
Pretended to be a Man.
By Claire Marsden
You came and sat down with me at breakfast.
How I wish you’d give me space. I do not know
how to be around you.
Would you like a cup of tea?
Sign of the Cross
By Rami Obeid
I hold my wooden cross
Straight from Bethlehem
As I carefully try not to burn the toast in the frying pan
My Dad’s snoring is a lot quieter nowadays
I open a can of sardines slowly so I don’t wake him
And I hope for a better life
My mattress is laden with my transgressions;
Back pain at twenty-one is killer
When you’re pressed for time
for home in quarantine
By MP Armstrong
when i curl into myself at night
all juxtaposition of boxer briefs and breasts
i whisper to myself
they they they they they
because i know you never will
Rye whiskey, Tuesday, and Shane MacGowan
By Scott Mitchel May
I’ve never been to New Orleans
But I celebrate Fat Tuesday with opium and rye
Flop-sweat at Ash Wednesday Mass
and, Father takes his time with my black cross
By Yash Seyedbagheri
A man of the Middle West and the Middle East,
I wait for the inevitable comments
about my name
so I make jokes about being the guy you fear on an airplane
sand monkey, towelhead, camelfucker. That’s what you’re thinking.
Ready Player Two
By Reggie Johnson
We are living in a simulation
Our lives are being controlled by player one
No lives left, no continues, no cheat codes
just fucking turn the game off already
circles / miracles
By Alvin Kathembe
Sometimes it’s difficult to believe in something
as ordinary as a miracle.
The aliens complain that someone
keeps putting crops in their circles.
By Lisa Lerma Weber
Fuck you and your jaundiced eye
looking sideways, looking down on
but never looking straight
at the soul you would condemn
for shining in colors you refuse to see.
america the beautiful
By Ashley Ward
tried our hands
at mending. now we’ll
just unravel all
For Your Reference
By Michael Luketich
You ask “Are you okay?” as if
I were a thesaurus that
upon running out of synonyms
By Confidence Jideofor
i do what every woman in need does
i submit to God
in a bent over …
come in Lord,
my walls are sound-proof
By Bethan Hay
I wake up to gremlins
but after a coffee they look more
like my children
And after two coffees
they are actually rather sweet
By Joe Cody
The blood jet is poetry. There is no stopping it. (Plath, 1968, p. 83)
It is! Mostly, that is, an
Incoherent mess like blood trace spatter on the wall,
The trial of blood on bridal sheets,
Or secret marks beneath the sleeves.
By Meagan Johanson
It is whispered at BBQs, over shoulders,
tongue-clucked between warm deviled eggs:
poor thing, a woman unable to bear–
as if proof of mankind would define her,
as if she didn’t bear every goddamn day.
David Centorbi once again presents,
I made it to the Last-Chance highway
but you were
standing on the overpass
“I’ll Love You Forever”
Boy, oh boy
By Claire Johnson
It’s just boy drama, they said.
What about when he hit me
Around the head?
Or slammed me so hard
I fell off the bed?
let’s just start a commune, they said
By Skye Savage
go off grid, safe from
those Capitalist Pigs.
but I need those pigs to live,
must eat their organs out.
A Full Length Poem By Jenn Zuko
In the beginning, God made coffee.
He got out of his bed
in the primordial soup,
rubbed herrings out of his eyes, and
scratched pesky birds out of his hair.
He collected a pot of cosmic swirl,
heated it up until the black holes bubbled.
He poured the liquid through grains
made from clay of man.
The smell made him sigh,
“Now, THAT’s a cup a’ joe.”
The first man’s name was
not Adam, nor Eve – his name was Joe.
Joe had brown eyes and liked to bounce off the garden walls.
God then made the other animals, the important ones,
like the cow, cause he liked to pour and stir
that frothy stuff into his potent brew.
After his second cup, he concocted another
and this was Eve, stirred up from the dust
of already-used grounds – vacant brain and watery eyes.
She walked around spaced out, confused.
Eve never ate; Joe’s caffeine made her jumpy.
It also made acid slosh around in her stomach.
“Apples would help,” she thought, but
she wasn’t known for her thinking.
Before Joe could turn around,
She’d already bitten into it.
God’s elbows trembled. Supreme Palpitations.
He clutched his shirt, almost ripping it— a scythe through wheat on harvest day;
And the rest is history,
right there in theology, the Word in red, on onionskin pages.
It never was printed that Joe and Eve escaped to invent tea
and pissed God off on the 7th day,
so he sighed the world a hurricane.