Zack Anderson

HAND MIT RINGEN

a quartet of blasted trees
slouch at the edge of the pond
and throw their jointed image in

one trunk warped by a burl
rope of root curled in a socket
an embolus crawling up a vessel

I have seen my death

the fingers dredge up silt
a body taken apart under the sea
assembles itself on the tidal machine

playing lazily among the squid beaks
a hand waves ballasted with a ring
flecks of alien gold glinting under the nail

 
**
 

SAME PIG, SHARPER EDGE

You might think me frigid
to hone this blade in the bristles

once I rooted in humus
among the rusts and smuts

rutted in a cluster of wood ear
in a crown of spores

in the glen I ran with a tusk
erupting from my jaw

I ran into a circle of graces
and held the tusk to my pig organ

this is a stickup a razorback
a dull scraping of hooves

a casing to hold the sausage in
I feed myself to the passel

the graces paint their cheeks
to defend against the angels of the lord

 
**
 

FÊTE GALANTE

I murdered the dauphin for his oxblood raiment.
For his fabulous rubbery skin. I made myself
intouchable in his mammal jacket. Pearlescent stole.
Strike up the danse, flense, and pas de bourrée.
Carry on, everyone’s carrion, it’s the new couture.
The ballerina sloshes a glass of neutron yellow
you can drink like anything else if it’s cold. Santé.
Let the roast dauphin jaw an apple. Let us dine
in the reactor core, the artificial womb, the storm
drain. We float down the watershed in a plastic château
and skin dive the trireme in actual skin. Lift the scuttled
wine cup and look through the drunk god’s painted eyes
with the vision of a marble satyr staring at his helical penis.
Swan boats pole around the lawn by the light of a bad planet
while a water spirit chases his horses out of the fountain.
The ballerina dumps the dauphin in the imperial boudoir.
We sparkle in a royal dose among the creatures of the pool.

 
**
 

LE MARIAGE DU LOUP

i.
Dream death is a dog nail
lodged in the skin overnight

red skein unraveling its bolero
a euthanized bison bleed

garnish where the bone should be
blood-shouldered horse at a dead

gallop spilling a warp of weeds
from a rip in the meadow’s hide

ii.
It was clear sun and prismatic drops
the house was going down like a ship

the horse was filling up with sand
it collected in the bucket’s crease

I was eating chopped dates
rolled in flour

the dog’s eye came open
it was utterly white
 
 

**

ZACK ANDERSON holds an MFA from the University of Notre Dame, where he worked for Action Books, and an MA from the University of Wyoming. He teaches English in Denver and writes for American Microreviews and Interviews.

Rami Karim

There needs to be a different word

I don’t know why the song is on repeat. If we
gave it another shot the apartment would
have exploded. We could’ve been sued. In
the brink of it I felt like spending every day
watching grass curl, just by looking at it. By
January I wanted a new body. Our faucet is
still leaking.

I’m not getting what I want so you’re a bad
person. I didn’t want to go on a date but
thought you’d think I was a slut if I offered to
hang in my room again, even though I just
wanted to smoke and talk and listen to the
new Black Moth.

Our parents are both brown so we’ll get
along, right? It’s a question of how to enjoy
trash media and still be a good person. Teach
me how to be gay. I never want to go
clubbing again ever.

Faggot is a generous word because I can use
it to reclaim myself or be rude depending on
my needs. My mom wanted me to keep
getting diplomas, it didn’t matter what kind.
She’s trying to set me up with her neighbor’s
daughter. I just want to be friends, really. I
want to help her choose a hairstyle and give
dating advice. My mom doesn’t know we’ve
already agreed to fake-date.

You post a hot pic and it makes me jealous so
I post one too and now it looks like we’re
planning a threesome because we’re
monogamous after all, and it’s not that we
fear the other leaving for those liking our
posts the day after a fight, even though we
said we were good and had sex after. 

The first time I heard a bomb it was actually
the sound barrier breaking. It was louder than
a bomb. If I say it one more time I become a
target.

It takes more energy to hate than to ignore. I
still want to learn how to draw and decide no,
but also I don’t hate you and it’s ok that you
moved to LA. I would have been down but I
grew up there is all.

I know what you want me to say, but I’m just
saying there are plutocrats in brown countries
complaining about white people. Rich brown
people who won’t admit the context makes
them analogous to the white people they drag
on bad days. Maybe they do know.

Pretending not to be in love is turning out to
be hard. I preempted this by saying I was
busy and wanted nothing serious. I
preempted feeling anything on the ride home
when I tripped and pretended not to check if
you saw.

Can’t tell if I want to adopt a cat because I
love cats or I’m just sad. Can’t tell if I’m sad
or if we ran out of milk and I wanted cereal.

I exclusively fall for the sons of immigrant
mothers they at some point fell in love with.
Mine taught me love and attachment were
kind of the same. Now when she calls it’s
always “What did you eat?” and “How is
your health?” Sometimes twice in a day.

Institutions are bad but one of them gave us a
room to basically trash for a month. I didn’t
come over because it was late and I had work
the next morning. I want to be in love but not
publicly, if that makes sense?

What’s the word for empathizing with your
mom so much that you start to cry at the
same things? I should learn how to end
something. It shouldn’t be your fault that I’m
not getting what I want, so please stop me
from being wistful. If you play No Doubt,
we’ll never leave.

There is something about distance that makes
Fontana feel like a neon fantasyland. It is a
holiday at an immigrant church and not the
second generation’s fault they perform
nostalgia. Christians from Beirut say they are
French because of archways in the mall they
built there. I am interested in Sufism as a
stoner alternative.

I get to your room with the wrong snacks but
it’s cool because I have the next Kardashians
episode and we are past pretending our
watching it is anthropological. Is anyone else
coming? I believe it when you say it’s not
that serious. After, you scroll through Tumblr
porn while I call home on your fire escape.

There needs to be another way of saying no
to hanging or “I don’t smoke.” You said it
would have been better if I actually wanted to
help. I told you about when having ideals felt
more like narcissism than helping people,
which actually involves giving something up.

 

**


RAMI KARIM
is a writer and artist based in Brooklyn. Their work has appeared in Apogee, The Brooklyn Review, The Invisible Bear, and Peregrine, and their chapbook is Smile & Nod (Wendy’s Subway, 2018).

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

 
**
 

 

 

 
**
 

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

 
**
 

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
 
 

**

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.