|| SEPTEMBER 2020 ||

DISTURBING WORDS || DISTURBING IMAGES

STRONG SEXUAL ABUSE CONTENT


QUARANTINED IN MY NATIVE VILLAGE

Laia Sales Merino

i look out of the window and i see El Cadí

snow still between the mountains and the sky 

i see the stones of Talló’s church

i see my cousin’s house 

i see the field you raped me on. 

cimmone

LIPSTICK UNDER MY BURQA

Sahana Ahmed

Swine-free, sin-free,

free of carmine and spirit.

Certified halal.

For the perfect pout

on Muslim Tinder. 

Chris G

HRG

Condoms

Vincent Poturica

We eat granola bars for dinner at a beach

where the restrooms double as motels.

The hours eat themselves.

An arch of clouds dissipates.

The condoms in the sand—like most of us

—have no choice.


Sara Dobbie

JOB HUNTING

Steve Gergley

under the lie of ‘job hunting,’ i leave the house before seven 

to go panhandling near town with my

needle-scabbed skin engulfed by the hoodie 

i wore in middle school. But

at the end of the driveway, a garbage truck roars and nearly crushes me 

these mother fuckers can’t drive for shit;

i guess there’s always next week


My Grandmother let me play hooky from Elementary

Stephen J Golds

I didn’t like the parking garage at the shopping mall.

My grandmother said that many people 

had killed themselves there

HRG

The Other White Meat

Abigail Swire

My not-blood niece in another life was
a pretty little thing with a round face and freckles.

She wanted to design clothes, bring back the 80s.
Her favorite thing to watch was infomercials,
especially the rotisserie chicken.

She sat in that single-wide
and kept her eyes glued to the screen.
All the men stole a glance at her pre-teen chest
on the way to the bedroom

where Mama did meth
but that golden skin
would just spin and spin.

HRG

Sara Dobbie

Flames lick the back Continental Road Attack

Devin Pope

—Tires named for an assault will never give 

a smooth ride. The bike—“Hawg” my dad calls it—

twists in the heat, an effigy of my longing, 

yet another thousandth place trophy proving 

my dead brother is easier to love than me


cimmone

STICKY

Amy-Jean Muller

Lonely, cross-country trips lead me to find bibles in the drawers of off track motels

and when I’d thumb,

flip, scatter through them

I’d wonder why the words wouldn’t quite take

Wouldn’t quite stick

as well as the cum on the worn out carpet


SENIOR YEAR

Amanda Crum

They lived in filth, those boys, 

broken teacups and blood in the sink. 

Don’t wear that skirt again

he said,

they like to break pretty things.

Chris G

HRG

Pioneer.

Ebube J.

The first time you died 

I had my hand in your hair

while you spewed out

a heart-shaped bowl of vomit


Miriam Navarro Prieto
Miriam Navarro Prieto

party-catharsis

Miriam Navarro Prieto

I want to party so hard homophobia comes
to a close, so wild I lubricate
my hands and give the patriarchy such a fun time
he can’t help but collapse, ‘do anything you please
with me, babe’, he’ll plead, and I’ll comply.


attachment style

L Scully

I moved back from Spain 

to attend therapy full-time

at the local hospital and 

all anyone asked me was

How’s Your Spanish 

cimmone

HRG

  WELFARE

Rami Obeid

Hawaiian Punch and Valiums

For Dinner

Nothing for dessert

HRG

HRG

Lesson Learned

Lisa Lerma Weber

You promised you weren’t like those other guys.
Then you got me drunk on cheap beer
and told me to just put it in my mouth.
You shrugged when I told you fuck off,
never called me again.
I should have known better.


Abigail Swoboda

earrings

Abigail Swoboda

I’ve got stretch marks
on my spine – I’m growing;

and I was made
for vintage dresses, for
Catholics and confessions, and

baby, put some holes between your ears.


Sara Dobbie

learned it from mom

Megan Cannella

When I’m fighting with my mother,
I am meaner to unoriginal men on dating apps.

Both want more of me than they have earned.

Ignored, they call me a fat, ugly, whore.
Sometimes, I forget they’re wrong.


HRG

Copper Top

Fred Shrum III

They call me copper top at the bar
Though my hair is black
But for the pieces of air conditioner I sold
To buy another drink


Devin Pope

backstory

Elizabeth Estochen

You tell me you can’t decide
if the crisp tang of chlorine tastes
like clean or like drowning.


HRG

Sunday Service

Rachel Hessom

I kicked at the pew and mother tutted,

Placing a hand on my knee and shaking her head.

I wondered what she would do if she knew what I’d done

With the man reading intercessions from the dusty pulpit,

Eyes lowered and praying earnestly for world peace.


VOLCANO

Guido Garcia Lueches

 

The metaphor of you

fucking me under a full moon sky

distant volcano spewing red hot lava 

muffled by the deep blue sea

almost writes itself.

Sara Dobbie

Chris G

the god I genuflected to 

Presented by David Calogero Centorbi

as an altar boy
was the same god they found pissing
blood into the Trevi and asking
the virgin martyrs,
why the long faces


Chris G

UNTITLED

Damon McKinney

I hate this fucking game.

In and out, up and down.

We play it every time he comes by. 

I really don’t know the rules, but my uncle says

I have to play.


Chris G

purged

Amory Lang

what i want is what he wants / which is paper-thin / me / flat / as a display case / see? / i’ve always been

good with my hands / fingers meet / my throat / burns with desire / to be fit / for the idiomatic butterflies

in a man’s gut / to make myself / a dainty frame / i press down / and empty my mouth of stomach acid


HRG

tethered

Surina Venkat


Love hit like a concussion,

left me vulnerable to your persuasion.

I latched on to you and stayed,

even when you had me shatter my wrists

and called it collateral damage. 


SKY HIGH

Meagan Johanson


Ate an edible

Reading outside under trees

Life is sometimes good

Chris G

HRG

BLACK BEAUTY

By Nkateko Masinga

At your house for lunch, your mother says to you,

‘Your friend is beautiful.’ Later, in the car, I ask, ‘Does she think we’re just friends?’ You say, ‘She thinks you’re beautiful.’ I smile. At home, I stand in front of the mirror and try on your mother’s compliment, try to haul it over my blackness like a new dress. It doesn’t fit. At night, her voice echoes:

Beautiful
Beautiful
Beautiful
Friend.


TWENTY-FIVE CENT CRUCIFIX

Travis Cravey


I hung him

on my rear view.

Not because I believed,

but because, when I finally do

lose control,

maybe he will.

Chris G

HRG

BYGONES

Kip Knott

Your life, like the brand of tampons you use,
is no longer any of my business.

Our life together is over.
Nevertheless, I hope

you’ll let me know when our dog dies.


Rami Obeid

encounter

Kaustuv Ghosh


gunshot window.

scattered parts.

cracked light, stains.

didn’t make it.


I am no woman without a hood

Fizza Abbas


Mama says I am a bad liar.

I once told her my pads are soaked with red water.

she waxed my pointy scalp

and asked me to keep it to myself.

good girls don’t share dirty secrets.

don’t read verses of Koran, she said.

because God loves mothers

but considers young girls a surprise gift

that he is too afraid to unwrap.

 

HRG

wrong place, wrong time, right answer

Bob Carlton

My mama did not
raise any sons dumb
enough to get in
to a bar fight when
there is more than
one
hog parked in the
lot.

Chris G

Chris G

I DON’T REGRET IT

Gaia Rajan

I crashed parties, spurned all

your gods. I was the girl jumping

from the burning building

with my pink dress on fire.


CROSS-STREET

Jay Wallace

In a cross-street in a suburb, after dark

An overturned police car burns

Masked children surround it, watching silently.

One finally speaks.

“He’s gone, finally.” 

Chris G

 

HRG

Symbiosis

By Lindsey Heatherly

I swallowed a handful of lichens when I discovered

the world was lead and my heart, silver.

The world melted into a pool of mirrored metallic,

once The End came, and saw, and flippantly flicked

her meticulously manicured middle finger

into the space where the skies met the ocean,

once displaying a brilliant blue.

I ran like a fawn freshly birthed from the loins

of Nature’s dead womb, collapsing and crumbling

like gingerbread houses; teeth spitting

from my mouth like sugar coated gumdrops. 

I dropped to my knees to breathe life into Chaos

and one, two, three, four, five, breath, breath –

again and again, I pumped the hollow space

where his heart should have been.

I hysterically howled for God to step in, so

he dropped off a body bag to zip Chaos up tight in. 

Not what I meant, but what did I expect?

For the man with a ram for a head

was walking his newly acquired property line

down the middle of the interstate.

In a buffalo plaid button up and cowboy boots,

he tossed his cigarette into the gasoline

seeping from the wreckage.

As his snout twisted into a smile, I closed the door

and laid down to take a nap, my body falling

into itself like sand slipping through an hourglass.

The timer in my brain buzzed, so I laced up

my boots to go backpacking up the mount. I hiked

for days up that crater of a rock, and I was seething

when the ground displayed into view as I looked up. 

Instead of stars there were lichen, so I plucked

the prettiest pieces from the mossy portrait of

the Cosmos and stuffed them into my pockets

as I gazed out into the expanse

and watched the world begin to melt.

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