by Kenleigh Gilbert
Riverside can you hear me?
I’m shaking my pill bottles to make music,
Asheville do you see me, am I real?
I’m sitting in courtyards at night just to feel
It’s the Apocalypse probably, but not the Slayer kind
blood levels won’t stop rising and now we’re all living
on top of our houses, grilling dead pets for dinner
always make sure to wave to the neighbors though
This has really helped our sense of community
A Fear of Breathing
by Isabel J Wallace
Disposable; one use only
I save the N95 in my paper bag,
hands nimble with practice
in minimizing contamination,
and I think: yeah, me too.
Rusty Little Me
(An homage to Adrienne Rich)
by Meghan Sutherland
Stressed breasts bear the brunt of
mauling minerals inspired by thigh chasms;
salted mouths where instruments are born.
Yet metal tarnishes, turns blue, green,
variegated by that maw, that chiasmus of self.
by Stephen J. Golds
I see myself –
a ghost in a swinging reflection
where it doesn’t end well:
a silent motel room
a 3 am bridge
or the edge
of this train station.
Drink Sick Scared.
by Andrew Valzian
Most who know this feeling can’t speak of it
for it is lodged in the gut like a fishhook
ready to tear you apart if you try to
by Lisa Lerma Weber
Sometimes while watching the news,
I want to put my fists through the television,
watch the fucked up world shatter into a million pieces—
a kaleidoscope of pain and blood on my living room floor.
by Paul Rousseauu
Our first Christmas,
Eating candy canes and
Fucking in bed,
Sticky fingers and
Your father knocks
On the apartment door,
Clinking his keys and
Stomping his boots
On stained linoleum
Cracked and curled
By the footsteps of others.
by Abigail Swire
Paint myself a cracked happy face;
Remember, you crossed the border to Tijuana?
Sent postcards, left nothing.
On El Dia de Los Muertos, Los Inocentes,
I’ll feed you, decorate altars with tequila and marigolds.
Commune with ghosts.
There must’ve been a time I loved you all.
Before the hate, before I learned to like the taste of pain.
Yes. I’ll set out your plate, love for a day.
I was a mother, if I was anything.
by CG Nelson
When she’s a little off her meds, the globe
doesn’t stop spinning. In this world,
she cannot sustain these revolutions—
Time is elastic.
by Scott Bryan
Driving a car.
by Julie Easley
there was a pound of flesh
for each stage – the family whispered
in corners as the shaving
off of body parts took its toll
they failed to see that all destruction
has to devour
the originator of its darkness
in the end.
by Claire Denson
the moment you take it in the tub
will never be worse than
the moment you realize
you never plugged it in
Banging Our Blocks Together
by Jerica Taylor
We are ready to have another child.
Counting days, saliva ferning, vial sales, delivery and storage fees.
Off the meds that make me stable and on
the ones that tell my body to lay like a chicken.
David Calogero Centorbi presents,
Honesty has its place and time
It was during a slow dance when you whispered into my ear, “What is your favorite thing?”
I replied, “Cigarettes and coffee or cigarettes and Maker’s Mark. It’s a hard decision.”
by Amanda Crum
There are no hills
with enough darkness
to keep me safe
tender girl-flesh and
trees flashing amber
like a signal
i scrub off my black
liner before interviews
capitalist cogs don’t
hold death at
the water line.
by Louise Mather
They kept her in the hayloft
housed her soul in a stone
to crush between their backs
the menstruous scent of leaves
licked until sundown
when she was grown
she overheard them airlessly
wonder why she could not adjust
to the light
you left this afternoon
by L Scully
I eat pills with granola for dinner
Bum Wine Makes Instant Friends
by Zebulon Huset
In Oceanside, soon before they stopped selling booze at two, a beached
stranger showed me the empty bottom row in the cooler hidden behind
malt liquor posters. “The Night Train’s normally there, must be sold out.”
Smile and a fist bump when he noticed a Tropical Punch Kool-Aid packet
in my palm—universally known to make the fortified wine more palatable.
i have always wanted
lesbian. or nun
for simplicity’s sake.
in my town
by Elizabeth Bates
the streets are gridlocked
with homeless drug addicts
instead of cars. the yellow yield sign
and the red stoplight are never enough
to save them.
by Coleman Bomar
Shame is a saggy
man in my head
who stays up late
during the day.
by Claire Marsden
We do the Christian thing and baptise our children,
And still our hearts break.
They fall and fail and fuck
Their hearts break.
This doesn’t count as a poem
by Keith Langston
I’m tired of feeling like life
has no meaning; And I’m really not
in the fucking mood
to write this in
some bullshit fancy poetic way.
to the starling living in the bush in the tesco car park
by Jake McAuliffe
we aren’t normally like that.
she was exhausted and I can be a cunt,
but when you met my gaze
i wanted to hide with you, grow feathers
from my nailbeds, and squawk at ugly couples too
by Vic Nogay
i watched him, the hoarder,
crooning at his cats between the wires, sick and dying or already dead.
he’d tucked them in dishcloths under his bed
with a letter to god for each one.
now loaded in vans to be hauled away and revived,
he knelt in the road as if to pray, then pulled out his knife
and drew meridians down his arms.
by Erwin Dink
This was inspired by the following haiku which is often touted as one of Buson’s finest. I like my version better.
on the temple bell
by Megan Cannella
As a toddler, it was her fault they felt
badly about themselves. They shook
parenting books she couldn’t yet read at her as proof.
Now, she always smiles when she cries.
by Jason Love
watching fireworks from the front steps –
my son enjoys
while I spit tobacco juice
into a coffee cup
by James Lilley
Long sleeved shirt, to hide my arms,
Those fucking scars, from when I was sixteen,
Angry kid, nowhere to vent,
I turn up early, to make a good impression.
By Kip Knott
The city sleeps beneath a tangle of black webs.
When my head hits the pillow, the dreams that float
out my bedroom window never make it very far.
I find them in the morning on my walk to work,
dangling from power lines like a bunch of used condoms.
We Wanted Our Own
by Sam Frost
Miniature women rifled through boxes. Slashed
clothes on the basement floor. Musk is a smell
you cannot un-smell. We nestled our child heads
in old jeans, placed dolls between our child legs.
Our grunts mimicked television scraps. We pulled
babies feet first. Dangled their plastic skeletons
and used cloth to tourniquet our own child wounds.
by Linda McMullen
Optimists snicker that we live in the worst times
Except for all those that have gone before;
Ignoring the glass’s darkling half, the stooping arc of history,
And – amid consummate tragedy – the most grievous part is
By now, we should have known better.
By Meagan Johanson
Nose-pressed to door crack, you watch
as the bottle spits fireworks on the wall
and she cowers to bellows, bells in the dustpan,
while your heart pants wolves in the cage of your chest.
Her words drip limp through a smile surrendered:
“Go back to bed, Little Mouse.”
Your left side dimple is just like hers.
He says you have her freckles too.
In bed, you swallow down your howl,
The Writer Thinks
by Sara Dobbie
if I told the truth,
let the words spill like nails
from my open mouth;
the family would shatter.
By Amy-Jean Muller
It’s hard to masturbate
in the psych clinic
because the lady in the bed
next to you
her dead son
By Sarena Mason
Inside my arm, under my skin, caterpillars cocoon, infection within.
Hatchlings of parasitic veins gnaw at my heart, drive me insane.
Needle in to euthanize, red butterflies bleed into the sky.
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