|| AUGUST 2020 ||


This issue of VERSIFICATION

is dedicated to

all survivors

of

hate, abuse, oppression, and injustice.


WARNING: DISTURBING CONTENT


Banana Bread

By Shufei Ewe

420 sifts by quickly,

everyone is still getting baked––

the powder just looks different.

HRG

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. 

HRG

menarche

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.

Sara Dobbie

Kip Knott

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.


cimmone

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.


Chris G.

The Lure

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.


HRG

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.


HRG

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

HRG

B.F. Jones

Russian doll

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.


UNTITLED

By Denzel Scott

A male mallard has

lost his same sex pair mate. In

mourning, mounts the corpse.

HRG

Chris G.

American Teacher

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.

HRG

HRG

A Note on Parenthood

By Richard LeDue


What you learn from diarrhea 

stained fingernails

can’t be taught. 


HRG

homeless haiku

By Julie Easley

Even dogs piss on

me as crowds pass by, in the

night the howls are mine


HRG

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.

HRG

cimmone

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.


Slut

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.  

Stephanie Jacobs

memoir

By L Scully

being polyamorous at twenty

was not all it was cracked up to be

neither bed was comfortable

HRG

Punch

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.

HRG

cimmone

Arsenic

By Claire Marsden

Sorrow-

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?


Rami Obeid

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


Lisa Lerma Weber

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


HRG

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


HRG

Camelfucker

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.


Lisa Lerma Weber

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

Hard mode

just fucking turn the game off already 


cimmone

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.


cimmone

See Me

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. 


HRG

america the beautiful

By Ashley Ward

we have

tried our hands

at mending. now we’ll

just unravel all

the seams. 


For Your Reference

By Michael Luketich


You ask “Are you okay?” as if

 I were a thesaurus that

upon running out of synonyms

listed antonyms.

Chris G.

DEFICIT

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

HRG

Palousek

Caffeine perspective

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

Palousek


UNTITLED

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.

Joe Cody

EXPECTING

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.

HRG

HRG

David Centorbi once again presents,

I made it to the Last-Chance highway

but you were

standing on the overpass

holding your

“I’ll Love You Forever”

cinderblock


HRG

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?


HRG

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.


HRG

Genesis

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.


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