Travis Sharp


Left Kidney:

I confess I know little of infection I mean inflection I mean reflection I mean deflection I mean affection I mean affliction I mean benediction I’m no saint no pastor not ordained not online though I took a quiz on Buzzfeed just the once that confirmed I’m a narcissist my parents oh what to tell them when I tell them that I love you Right Kidney I found a connection you & I covered in glitter & bleeding fame & making birthday wishes for being recognized not in the party of the year in a stretched sonnet taking place in the Victorian era oh those ankles I mean stretched sinner I mean etched innard I mean the mirror stage is fantastic yes but I mean is it you or is it me I mean is it you or is it you I mean it’s like when the urologist told us it was not cancer & that was a stressful moment but at least I got some attention out of it just this once O

 
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Body I’m desperate I’m writing love marginalia love poems marginalia poems

Body in a constant
state of not quite
& this uncertainty is our
vulture or was it a crow
pecking at organs that
refuse to decrement
& returning each
day like a lover
the vulture the crow
continues
bits of
skin on the ground
that take root &
grow upward
into a lattice
disheveled but
pulsing slightly
a haphazard structure
becoming less understandable
the closer you look
but inviting you
closer
all the
same

 
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I have a lot of feelings I need a whole hand to count them

I’ve tried list
ening body but
with endless
distractions
your tick tock
your metronome rhy
me body a clock
with optical allusions
you undulate
you pulse & sing
& I hear I see
a body on
display the
clack of heels
the sigh of
make-up
made-up with
body feels
a sligh
test thud
a noticable
motive in
chest a
trimmed
me is
what I’ve
given you
body
& what
is your return
policy
I hear a
return within
thirty days
what to
return with
receipt
but there
is no
don’t leave
hospital
without
proof of
purchase
I didn’t hear
a choice
what are
options body
do you work
for them
with it you’re
a worker b
ody is that
why I can’t
won’t hear
with all this noise
 
 

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TRAVIS SHARP is a queer writer, artist, and teacher living in Buffalo. He’s the writer of Sinister Queer Agenda, a chapbook forthcoming from above/ground press, and is an editor at Essay Press and at the journal small po[r]tions.

Grey Vild

The pill is the objectivity of the mouth

A miracle of modern medicine, we pull ourselves up by our teeth, cherish the red. Tug, quiet & callous, at the dream that sleeps in the sin of despair. A great act of sorrow, having finally won the attendance you finally failed. That will leave us breathless. I make a blue crease, untangle the braids that fray in my hands. A war like a miracle, when they cut me open they found a stone for every one of you. One last, an addiction to losing more than justice.

 
 
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The pills speak

in your living voice. The one that laughs in my arms, buoyant tendril, glancing fissure, dormant prognosis. Metastasize the animal mind where fused— like a joyful trembling against the chest could last, like you could stay alive. Bouncing around the room like we could let ourselves a future other than this, ossified hate, thrown like light from the most unlikely surfaces. Like everything is at once a reflection & illusion of you now that you’re dead now that you’re a pill that croons only in blue now that you belong to a world we can approximate only in song.

 
 
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The blue of the pill is sweeter than the pill itself

Lozenged incisor, wreck the milk of. The woman with your mouth, does she look like you does she know the violet tuning that upends the forest? Forked like a wish, cradled abandon of her arms. She feels you there, shuddered inside her. You are the sweet of the pill that swallows men whole. The clutch of abdomen where once becomes a storm of nevers. Shiver the frost from her breath, a first Christmas. A knife carved of bone is all the hand can hold. Is the hand a bladed fistful bloom?

 
 
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The truth is you ain’t never comin’ back

Because everybody knows the blue of the pill is sweeter than the pill itself. Because you should remember telling me to say yes to life. Because the morning spills across our arms like a battleground. Because how long did you say? Because we are felled. Because you are prone to cirrus now. Say again. Wring the prayer from the strings’ burgeoning fingers until the teeth bloom blood. Sweet when it burns. Because I was a musicless holler, a mountain without cry. A fallow flesh, a formless— no minuet, no gavotte, no smallest blister. Because no barren-throated threat spools night from night to crown you. Because no splintering bramble, caught on loss & dashed against a people nearly bewildered as their days. Say collapse. Because of days I wished I’d cut the chord myself. Because the pill still writes the song that refuses to release you. Because its blue was not enough. Because night will dream where stars are only fissures. Because we plead so far into devastation. Because we find your wreckage in the open mouth of the river, its endless tongues.

 

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GREY VILD is a Queer Art Mentorship & Brooklyn Poets fellow & a MFA candidate in poetry at Rutgers University. His work can be found at Them, Vetch, Harriet: The Blog and elsewhere.

Adrienne Herr



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ADRIENNE HERR (b. 1991, Texas) is a poet and performer. She curates Alignment, a performance and poetry reading series happening at American Medium Gallery. Adrienne has recently performed for Poetry 99 (NYC), Motto Books (Berlin), and Poetic Research Bureau (Los Angeles). She maintains multiple websites where she posts poetry, audio clips, and screenshots: adriennes.site.

Maggie Woodward

 

 
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MAGGIE WOODWARD lives in Los Angeles, where she’s pursuing a PhD in Cinema & Media Studies at the University of Southern California. She is the author of the chapbook FOUND FOOTAGE (Porkbelly Press, 2017) & earned her MFA in poetry from the University of Mississippi. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Atlas Review, Devil’s Lake, New South Review, Scum Magazine, & elsewhere. Previously, she served as Senior Editor of the Yalobusha Review & curated the Trobar Ric Reading Series in Oxford, MS. You can find her online at www.maggie-woodward.com.

Jonathan Aprea


I Think of All You Often

In my room I take my shirt
and place it by the radiator.

There is an important light. I turn it on.
All this time, I think,

I went to you in the water.
You handed me your mask

and I put it on. The pool’s filtration system
disrupted the path of the light

below your ears. I could use this,
I begin to think. Pool

is my favorite color. I go to
find my pen. Nobody ever leaves me

anymore. I unfog their masks.
I write to them for years.

 
 
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Infinity Pool

You stand on the asphalt curved entrance of a main road’s
side street before some lawns in different order
and several lots home to just trees. Your goal
is to find the one yard whose bulkhead door gives, whose basement
holds a bucket made of fluted metal
by the home’s stairs, and in whose back woods is a collapsed pool.
The damp earth around the pool’s banded lip
retains the imprint of your sneakers’ worn soles as you walk
and when you have approached on the path’s loam. Its floor
of poured concrete has aged to take the natural tint of clay
and its cracks are filled in with caked dirt and small stones. You access the pool
from the buckled wall at one end stained by rivulets
of water that even now enter the pool
when it rains and drain out. Strike the pail with a found bough
and it echoes, because it is empty
and like all things freest and most out of itself
singing. Its diameter is of the average person,
and if you were under water your eyes would open and break
everything that is obvious and bright
into constituent clouds, and righting the pail it would breathe its air out in one burst
to the water’s surface reassimilating itself. To access
the path back you turn the pail against the pool’s floor
on its mouth and use it as a kind of ladder
to climb out, and the pail stays in the drained pool and will receive rain
never growing full, but in this rain its even face makes faint noise.

 
 
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The Shirt of Happiness

Hang it in your living room
to find it when you least need
to put it on and go out.

Do not focus on the urge
to fill what it is made of
with your indecently proportioned

arms. Accept that it is
distinct, that it is inflexibly
put together. Do not eat

for two days. Cover the shirt
in warm water.
Cooling shirt against

your skin. There is nothing
you can do.
It is your favorite one.

 
 
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Missing Person

In my room the wall-length window grows dark
and reflective and I sit up
to look through my blue shirt into a tree.
Missing person: I figured out
you still spin inside the dark music box
my chest turns to at night.
You do not grow cold or revolve
affectionately off. My mattress
is the life raft I inflated and carried
miles over freeways from the crash site.
There is a voicemail I imagine,
that has matured and incrementally
been deleted as its tenor slips
to stillness, to never speak.
Something cuts the walls from my apartment
and I skid into the broken
hole of sleep. I right myself and walk across the ice.
Nothing is very different. Blue shirt,
believable skin. I wade into the inevitable water,
and I climb out, and I wade in.

 
 
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The Lifeguards

I floated in the water that went above my head
and stared at the lifeguards and branches.
My eyes choked comfortably
on the chemical water. When it rained the lifeguards
went inside their small office and conferred
with each other by themselves and made the children
each go home with their parents and the pool
would not be open again until morning. I stood shirtless
and mad in my cracked driveway latticed
with rough weeds. I climbed onto the small detached garage
as the side streets developed narrow streams and the thunder
got closer. The rain was now coming all at once.
The aggressive noise was seemingly from heaven.
I mistook it for something else but I forget
what I had done. The lifeguards. Their shitty, teenager
faces. I could feel hatred, and I wish that I knew
what it was. I do not belong here. It is for no one.

 
 
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JONATHAN APREA is a writer living in Philadelphia. A chapbook he wrote called Dyson Poems is forthcoming from Monster House Press. You can find him on the web at jonathanaprea.com.

Leena Joshi


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LEENA JOSHI is a visual artist and writer born to Indian immigrants. Her practice explores the relationship between the changing self and its environment through negotiations of text, moving image, music, performance, and installation, with a focus on feminist, anti-colonial, and immigrant ideation.

Toby Altman

 

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TOBY ALTMAN is the author of Arcadia, Indiana (Plays Inverse, 2017) and five chapbooks, including recently Security Theater (Present Tense Pamphlets, 2016). His poems can or will be found in Crazyhorse, Jubilat, Lana Turner, and other journals and anthologies.

Cristine Brache

QUEEN FOR A DAY

Queen for a day
#1 pity stories
You win

 
 
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WHAT YOU HAVE INSIDE IS WHAT YOU HAVE TO SELL

I want to die in the grave I’ve already dug for myself
Once I’ve completed this beautiful performance
Act I: Beware of Dog, I really enjoy being judged
As seen in Better Hormones & Gardens

I spend twenty-seven years apologizing to men
From the bed of my childhood to the photographs
taken when I first began to cross my fingers
2011 proves it: check out Cristine’s smile

We lay flowers on places where people die
But not where people live not where hearts are broken
Not in the fitting room where the devil first tried my body on
Not on my mother, or sister, or the months of May or June

I’ll show you how I act when no one is around
If you promise to forget me when I’m gone
Big letters were glowing in the back for sure
The only thing missing was feeling

 
 
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IN NATURE

in nature
im mature
im nature
n immature

 
 

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CRISTINE BRACHE is an artist and poet. Recent exhibitions include I love me, I love me not (Fierman, NYC), Golden Eggs (Team, NYC), and In Confidence (As it Stands, LA). Recent publications include Miami 1999 (Paperwork, NYC), Dissect Journal #3 (Melbourne), and How to Sleep Faster #6 (Arcadia Missa, London): cristinebrache.info

Joe Milutis

Gel
(a poem in 33 gifs)

(linked page may require some loading time on slower connections)

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JOE MILUTIS is a writer, media artist, and Associate Professor of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at the University of Washington-Bothell. His interdisciplinary work includes experimental sound and radio; video works; new media; experimental narrative and poetics; theoretical writings; and various media and literature hybrids. He is the author, most recently, of Failure, A Writer’s Life and Bright Arrogance, a column on experimental translation at Jacket2. His writing has also appeared in Fence, Triple Canopy, Cabinet, Film Comment, Hyperallergic and Ctheory.

Catherine Chen

“With” Anne Carson

In want of madness I sought to replicate something. Something as form, as placeholder for the
thing-in-want-of-madness. I made myself mad with grief, tunneling after your affection under misty
spotlights of juxtaposed night. But that wasn’t all.

I fought with everything. Beauty. Aura. Lamp shades. Consequence. I was so belligerent that I had
no challengers. I felt spited against and my spirit felt degraded and by the time I could sleep
without acting out against the poor sucker who would be my assigned bedmate I was tired. I turned
in every night with the solid understanding that my behavior was futile and my attitude mediocre. I
did not pray but I tried meditation. I ate stale bread full of spiritual conviction. I read many essays
in praise of words and self-annihilation.

My friends, meanwhile, mourned. They formed the second line, they brought works by their
friends to read, they lit a fire. The fire grew and grew. All this I dreamt. At first the fire provided
solace and the second line resented fascist authoritarianism. Then I must have gotten lazy, the
dream became illegible, and the resistance eventually came to resist we who had fed and nursed the
fire from birth.

Who is the mother of fire?

I mean the mother, the ur-mother.

At the awards show, the wraparound dress incurred a minor fashion rebellion, and the woman
who’d designed it was showered with fiery endorsements of love and endless proclamations of the
desire to “wear you.” Nothing less of course.

I wore the shroud nightly, growing weaker, growing madder. To be proven incorrect, I thought, is
to have found full of wanting.



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From the Edge of Space

My lifelong dream of being bad is a kind of doing. It maps out ways I inhabit but never am.
Feeling is an attachment so you stick around. Still lake water. Still the presence of the dream.

A path that could be: taken.

Forbidden sex, the wish to say yes and no simultaneously.

The selective omen.

Which I reject. I reject the dream. I walk slowly. In a moment of sweat and flushed cheeks. Turn
over. You offer me a koala print sweater on an afternoon when all I want is to dream and resist
critical thought. I only care that my reality of being bad has language, has been found capable of
possessing language.

Or stop. So you stop. I dreamt the scenario I want to stage. I don’t want to possess, I want to
forgive. I want sloppy seconds and strawberry rhubarb pie. I want to sit on the highway overpass. I
haven’t slept in weeks. I roll off the bridge and feel my limbs dissolve.

The question of the body is irrelevant.

Memory caught in reflection is the light in a golden eye.


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CATHERINE CHEN is a poet and performer living in Cambridge, MA. Her writing has appeared in Nat.Brut, Websafe 2k16, Mask Magazine, among others. She can be found @aluutte.