WARNING || DISTURBING CONTENT
ENTER AT YOUR OWN RISK
design wasn’t something
you were known for
until you borrowed your father’s 357
and painted his basement walls
The knife so pretty, I must turn you into an ugly red.
It burst onto you like a fountain covering your beautiful glow.
I wash and wash, but you do not shine the same.
I shall hide your tainted form from myself and the world.
For, I forever have turned you into something ugly.
Trapped in an Urn
I asked them to bury me
deep in the woods,
to lay me under layers of leaves
so the trees could take root in my body.
They didn’t listen.
I ate what happened, choked it down past crumbling teeth, nerves afire
Later – ribs shatter, paper skin splits, the bloody truth corroding yellow
fat and sinew, and I gulp water to cool the burn
I empty the well, lick the sink dry, and head to the cow’s trough
My tongue fat and bloated, a lake-dredged corpse
Joy is my mother-in-law.
About ten years ago, she danced seductively
in front of me to The Sopranos theme song.
Ever since then, I haven’t been able to watch
Tony kill anyone without thinking of her.
shows I exist–
to feel meat
there is no
Tie a clouty tight round the tree for us, tight, tighter as
thick hands around a neck
Push your offerings, spitty cigarettes, your dirty pounds
cheap deep into the bark
It won’t make us un-beat, not for the flies that clustered
faces like moving water
Did we fuck them, choke them with thick barnacles, heed the
dead cats stuffed into the rooves?
Girls, you got brains but you drink until they float, fall
hard enough to make our bones dance
SONS OF TWILIGHT
Between the hours of eleven at night
and eight in the morning, I ain’t no poet
I am a third shift worker,
I am a nine digit punch code,
I am another lost soul biding time
at a suburban grocery store.
But sometimes I feel it’s worth
feeling good about.
The food for the neighborhood
doesn’t just appear on the shelf,
it’s put there by the sons of twilight;
the time-biders; the drop outs; the dreamers;
The Blood of Angels
A falcon rips a pigeon apart
atop a hissing street lamp.
Bathed in a yellow halogen halo,
two women pass a glass pipe
beneath a bloody snow of feathers.
How does she sleep with her baby
Devoured by worms
His then blue eyes, now
at the end
of fleshy strings.
remind me of my mom
standing at the kitchen sink
just because I say “I love you”
doesn’t mean she has to say it back
Elegy for a Small Town
Lisa Lerma Weber
Looking through old photographs-
“He’s dead,” I say. “So is she.”
So many lives cut short and I wonder
if my hometown is cursed,
or if maybe I am.
The last moment she had to live,
in the middle of the cacophony of screams
and the blinding white light,
she exhaled aloud,
“Goddamnit, I forgot to…”
soil uncovers the skull and bones loosen from each other innards drip out of crevices the maggots squirm and cover the remains it was a young boy once it was once you it was once me it is now nothing what can we bequeath save our disposed bodies a bird will fly by, pick it up, and drop the bones each cracking and shattering upon impact these lungs have breathed so much life into someone this heart has been opened and broken and shattered and still when dropped it is empty
Skull white powder, little plastic bag,
Safe in the cycle, insecure in society,
Forever the last time,
Dawn breaks, darkness retreats.
You said I broke your heart
David Calogero Centorbi
but all I did was ask,
“Do you want an Uber or Lyft
because I sleep better alone.”
Bleeding, wheezing men
always spend their last dollar
on their first bible.
on a great big clipper ship
the metal turns nasty in my head
as the boy I’m with rolls over
I see three spiders smashed on his back
near the dip of his spine
where last night I licked
Holly Rae Garcia
A black plastic trash bag sits in the front yard
snatched by a stump.
Winter left it a shriveled, sharp-edged mess.
The stump, not the bag.
And I wonder if there is a dead baby inside
born in a bathroom stall or in a home
tossed out like a sticky condom.
I can’t look at that Schroedinger’s bag
that does and does not contain a dead baby
I nudge it with my toe but
there are no dead-baby shaped bits
Only the empty bag, ballooned out
by the wind.
I toss it in the bin and
wash my hands and
why wind looks like dead babies
and trash bags look like
I snuck down to my husband’s electric chair in the basement. He is the alchemist. I am nothing.
I hook myself up. If just the right current could vacillate between two poles,
maybe I can transmute this darkness into gold.
Go ahead then:
Name me witch.
But don’t call me anyone’s daughter,
subservient tongue to hoof, to horn.
I scribe my skin in a language my own.
I light my own fire, fuckers.
Your shift is 3 – 11, monday through friday / your cart and cleaning supplies are in the janitor’s closet next to the pool / your run includes the entire freshman wing, the science hallway, and the bathrooms near the teacher’s lounge / make sure you do everything on the checklist / but don’t jump off the walkway above the lobby like the last guy did / because the lobby is on my run and I’ve got enough shit to clean up as it is
You looked at me the way a glassy lake
considers a funnel cloud. I knew then
that all the ghosts I thought I’d shed
were still there, and that I had become
the haunted house.
making out with my girlfriend in front of
the Baltimore Museum of Art
a man interrupts to ask me
Do You Want a Picture With Your Sister
Stay at Home Mother Brings Daughter to Work
She crushed my face in her hands, squeezing cheeks into teeth.
Tasting blood. Tasting tears. I was all of 6 years, afraid.
“Do you see what I see and do you like what we see?”
My image reflected, split down the middle like a funhouse mirror.
And all I’d wanted was a juice box.
The mom on the porch
Balances a cigarette between her lips,
A baby on her hips…
A delicate act.
She must drop one.
I am jobless, nearly homeless
in this middling ex-industrial town;
with nothing to sell except my body
and mind to whichever firm can pay enough,
just so I can eat and sleep
under a roof not made of stars– let’s be clear,
there is nothing holy about freezing to death
in a car park, in a town built to make you
brain-dead from the start.
I never walk home
without keys forked
through my knuckles:
metal fangs ready
to kill, if required.
AND PEOPLE SAY THERE’S NOTHING TO DO AROUND HERE
at a fair in small town america people descend on games and junk food
a cover band provides a soundtrack to the feeding
arriving home that evening
fair goers collapse on their couches
a little fatter for the slaughter
I stand before you, king of kings; I bow in respect
I am a demon and know I am denied honors.
You bleed endlessly, but I am damned.
I pray to know what it’s like not to
Stephen J. Golds
shocked blue face
in the morgue
hours after death
taught me everything
Lovey love, love
Tyler R. Martin
I burn, I smolder, I melt,
When she passes by;
My heart speeds up,
My mouth waters
And I can almost
Smell her flesh
Frying in my pan.
Her corpse is stiff…
A paper doll set on fire.
Red lipstick and speckled ash
Hides matte blue asphyxiation.
The mortician will fall in love.
Midnight Rest Stop
We spot the ’68 Buick Skylark from the highway,
blood-soaked foot dangling from the open car door.
Sara thinks it’s a prank until we peer through
the side window and see the blade in the woman’s heart,
baby-blue eyes gazing from the cups of her palms.
SPECIAL THANKS TO OUR ART CONTRIBUTORS:
- Akash – @whitenoiseimages
- JD Bergstrom – @JD89669950
- Daniel Bick – @HemlockJam
- Nicki Blake – @strawberrythief, facebook.com/nicki.blake.315
- David Centorbi – @DavidCaCentorbi, @david_calogero_Centorbi, davidcentrobi.blogspot.com
- Grace Alice Evans – @gracealiceevans, bgracealice.wixsite.com/gracealiceevans
- Michael Hammerle – @Mike_hammerle, middlehousereview.com/michael-hammerle
- Stephanie Jacobs – @DrStephJacobs, @drstephj
- Kip Knott – @kip_knott, http://www.kipknott.com
- Jeffrey Reynolds – @jeffreynolds2125
- Rachel Roth – @WinterGreenRoth, rachelwinterroth.wixsite.com/website
- CL Taylor – @ctaylor, spectaylor.com
- Ashley ten-Hoeve – @mustashley
- Alan ten-Hoeve – @alantenhoeve
- Daniel Walters – @danielmhwalters, daniel-walters.co.uk/
Poetry curation || C. Cimmone
Art curation and layout || Holly Rae Garcia
Editing and perfecting || Versification Team
What a ride. Loved each and every contribution.