JULY 2020

Disturbing Images || Disturbing Content

A.R. Salandy


By A.R. Salandy

My mom’s nerves were fraught
As cars sped down the open road
And crashed and burned just in front
Of our hatchback run on cheap oil-

And driven by a woman lost.

My Girlfriend Doesn’t Believe Me When I Tell Her These Things
By Rami Obeid

I fondle a bag of welfare cheques, amphetamines, and benzos

While my parents are passed out on the couch,

Lying on top of each other

I dream of broadband by the sea

Where the valleys of love and milk roam onwards without interruption

Rami Obeid


See A Psychiatrist

By Yash Seyedbagheri

the hoi polloi snarls see a psychiatrist

swallow your feelings, swallow this pill

don’t ask for friends, be contented with masturbation and Netflix

don’t whine because you’re alone,

I’m alone, but who’s the asshole, you psychiatrist obsessed pill-pounding pricks?

Mphae Mashifane


By Mphae Mashifane

The blood dried but smells all the same

And the bitter aroma awakens my body

To the pain suffered by yours

They ask me where it hurts

I point to a perfectly swept pavement

Like the Ivy Takes the House

By Yelaina Anton

I will learn to unlove you

like the ivy takes the house.

I will strangle every brick

of the home I wanted to build with you,

and you will wish you had cut me down

years ago.

Chris G.


The Duality

By Isaial Duey

my catholic mother scolds me
for not knowing how to pray the rosary

then tells me to understand the man
who groped me when i faked my sleep

Renee Agatep


By Renee Agatep

Remember Ratboy

found that raccoon 

and it walked right up on his porch

and they named him Lou Diamond Phillips 

and let him live in the bathtub

and fed him Lunchables and falafel 

until the landlord found out?

He really misses LDP.

Arguing with a British Racist

By Bethan Hay

Shall we agree to disagree?

No sir, I disagree with that.

We are not talking about the 

colour of a cup of tea you      

bloody tosser.


Chris G.


By Oluwadare Popoola

little fire burns a child,
scars grow in cubits.
tenses deliver the present,
scalp splitting & child is thinning

Elizabeth Bates

Dismantle the Zodiac

By Elizabeth Bates

Libra lost her balance, Sagittarius struck an arrow

through the bull, the goat, the ram, the fish;

Scorpio and Cancer pinched the fair maiden,

Aquarius doused her in water, and Leo ate what was leftover;

but lo! and behold Gemini is still two-faced.


By Matt Maday

I emerged from bedlam 

chemically deranged

beholden to an 

outdated outmoded organic 


Rami Obeid

Pissed in the Kitchen

By Rich Giptar

Swing crack back the fridge, milk waterfalls

Snouting from a jar you crushed somehow

Hey molars, deal with the broken glass

Guess you forgot this, made a fire

Milky sprawl quick lick the linoleum 



By Shannon Frost Greenstein

The scars on my knuckles ripped open today

My knees aching against the tile.

The insurance company says the scale says

I’m fine

So it will be this way for a while

Shannon Frost Greenstein

Chris G.

I wish I was a badass,

By Charlotte VanWerven

I’m not a punk — I don’t snort 

lines of coke or lines of free verse and 

I am a fucking villanelle, sometimes an 

epigram, sniffling into lines of Neruda,

choking on enjambment and 

my own snot. 

mosh pit souvenir

By Tom Zimmerman


flare-red guitar pick


someone’s thumbnail


Chris G.

Jesus Advocated Direct Action

By Brooke Kolcow

I bought someone else’s grandma groceries on Sunday.

God bless you, she said.

Temporarily turned me from community cashier into community convert.

I still believe

In the fundamental goodness of human beings.


Reasons Unknown

By Scott Bryan

When I attempted my exit/(boxcutter from thumbs to elbows)/

The [weeks of (too much)] alcohol must have saved me/

*blood too thin, heart too weak/to bleed out*/your honor/

Because the alternative is that/ some ancient deity/

communicating in dead-speak/forced me to live on, because/… ‘purpose’?/

Who can deal with that shit?

M.S. Evans

Pain Not Pangs

By M.S. Evans

Birth breaks your bones, 

cracks you open like a lobster. 

Meat; raw, exposed. 


new mother.


On the train

By Amy Ellis

Aren’t you the cool guy:
reading William S. Burroughs
in your sunglasses.

Conspiracy Tale

By Amy Cameron

I have never seen road maintenance being done

I have only seen



High-vis men drinking tea from flasks.

Have you ever read the Shoemaker’s Elves?

I think they might have made a comeback.


When we go for our walk, we see roadkill

By Jeanna Paden

the spine lays straight and flat against the concrete

with the intestines nestled at the base of the bones

plump and full

Chris G.

Chris G.

That sound she makes in bed

By L Scully

you take me to get a nose piercing to match your own

you make sure they’re on opposite sides so when we kiss the rings don’t get stuck

they do anyway

Chris G.


By Colin Lubner

I wrote a novel, once. One character

was in fact God. I killed Them at the midpoint

to raise certain stakes. But the survivors

only laughed, talked behind Their buried

back. Thank God, they said. Thank God.


Christmas Night Skating in Minneapolis, 1994

By Zebulon Huset

Slush lining the gutters, we cruised down the parking structure’s

switchbacks, pumping curves as Teddy’s boombox blasted Op Ivy

and the security guard didn’t give a shit and kept watching Night Court

reruns on the tiny booth tv. Teddy’d never found a vein back then—

had never felt cockroaches ticking under his thinned shin skin.


By Aleah Dye

There is something still 

inside of me. It used to shout and bang

on pots, but it has died today.

The quiet hole subsumes me,

no more wit or want or play.

Aleah Dye


By Caleb Berg

He said: What do you think about the gofer part? And I, having spent my day hovered over the thousands of individual holes in my yard, gun in hand, hair hung down like tattered blinds stuck to the sweat on my face, I said: Fuck the gofer and fuck your poem. 




By Nishtha

Hair sticks out from under my armpits.

So does cellulite from the sides of my thighs.

Society guffaws, beauty echoes simpering sighs–

their dirty footsie before my unbelieving eyes–

But my toe sticks out, too, to settle all scores,

from sidelines to front-lines — won’t toe the line no more!


By D.T. Robbins

My daughter is the same age I was
when my dad was the same age I am.
I wonder if she’ll forgive me
like I forgave him
when I fuck this up, too.  

D.T. Robbins



By Abigail Swire

Pink is the color of girly girls, the ones who have it all, the ones who are taken care of. 

The color of my ballerina dreams and villainous hair bows, snow-cold cheeks, and endings.

Pink is the color of pretending.

Nothing fits in my pocket. I carry life in a basket on my head, strap it to my back while I work the fields, 

tie it up in a heavy heart knowing it will give out. 

When I wear carpenter pants, they ask why I dress like a boy.

In the bathtub, I let the dirt fall away. I see a bloom I never noticed, pink and shapely.

It was just a spot. A dot really, on the left breast over my heart. This flaw is wrong.

I pick with a pin, then a knife, deeper, past muscle and bone, to the heart of the matter, 

opening myself to the air, 

but there is no end to what’s wrong. 

Chris G


By William Bortz

mom abandoned god once her father died

she said, any man who can’t remember

his daughter’s name but knows the way

to the nearest liquor store won’t find their

way to heaven & no hell could be worse than that 


By Connor Orrico

Peaceful protesters protect each other
from eager predation by the police.
Open palms are raised to plea with raised arms:
“Keep the peace!” and “Don’t shoot!” —
“Black lives matter.”

Chris G

Meat Trade

By Julene Tripp Weaver

The ginger poodle was saved 

from becoming a stir-fry in Korea, 

brought to the United States in a crate, 

now he’s growing used to living a dog’s 

life of leisure with his new humans, 

though sometimes he spits up blood.

Noreen Ocampo

my mother sobs &

By Noreen Ocampo

I collapse under the weight of not-
gravestones & would-be epitaphs. god cracks open
my rib cage, picking the prettiest bone in the
smoothest white. my body sheds me. I regret
all the time spent kneeling in the pews.


David Centorbi Presents,

Something profound for you:

urinating outside under the moon-cold air,

piss-steam rising, is all the physics

you need to know to get by with living.

Midwest Spiders

By Jonathan Cardew

Little Miss Muffet
Sits on the couch
Eating curds;
It’s time to dump her and move on.

Jonathan Cardew

This issue is dedicated to those who fight the demons of drug addiction and to those who love them. If you or someone you know is struggling, please reach out for help and know those of us at Versification are always here to read your words.

If you have lost someone you love to drug addiction, please know the words published in this issue were published with compassion.

*No animals or humans were harmed for the sake of photography


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