Joshua Aiken


We Watched Roots in 8th Grade

Here’s the rundown. You spend 5,000 days as a specter in the suburbs, listening to Ashanti and Maxwell, coloring yourself in and scribbling yourself into the very sketchbook, which erases you. This is how race in America works. Somewhere, on the bus, on the walk home from school, in math class, in your advanced reading class, in the library, on the debate team, in the locker room, in the bathroom, in line at the water fountain, on the stage at the end of year the ceremonies—somewhere, at some point, on some day, you are the only black person in the room. And, more often than not, you’re learning from someone white. Or you’re not. Euclid is not the only thinker a person should know. So let’s say you’re not the only black body dangling in monochrome space. Someone has still scraped your tongue. Taught you a language where the word good refers to the good school, which refers to being white.  You know that the school you go to is the best school in town and the predominance of whiteness is true in a numerical sense. Thus the school you do not attend is either a bad school or a bootstrapped school or a lucky school or another rationale for the here-now of life. You start watching Friends. You misunderstand Hurricane Katrina because you live in a place where you can misunderstand. You delete Luther Vandross from your mp3 player because there is not enough space. Which way does the double arrow point? Why is what is good, good? Who is alive and who is a good? At some point the black boy dropped in the 21st century bangs his head against history’s swollen door; history being the silence of every classroom, every classroom being the locale in which he cannot be understood. He is a set of questions. They are buttressed by his textbooks, enhanced by his television set, compounded by newspapers, enhanced by other manifested destinies.  These questions unearth him; they constitute the night. Police officers covered up killing a disabled black man in New Orleans the year he is in 8th grade but this is not what he is meant to know. These are his hours, these are the unraveling of his days. The people he sees in the world who are poor or sick look like him. The people we are to be afraid of look like him. Or look like a faith or like an entire continent or look like a “not from here.” Not of the settled state. All of this is to say this is how the groundless work. How the swingset after a certain hour isn’t a safe set of swings. How we fashion a lexicon of dreams. Of choice. Of false promises that he will inevitably learn. Racism texturing his living. History: never the point, Human: never how the black boy in the 21st-century can be encountered. There are no chalkboards in him. Just droplets. Just vinyls, just unlivable tunes. Milliseconds. Or thousands of days. In truth, he learns alone. Abandoned, untethered, and alone. Outside of the schoolhouse, a tree falls. Sonically, he is alive. For there are other ways, always echoes, sounds underneath sounds. He learns by looking at the portrait of Jesus—who is black, always black—which his parents place in the hallway in every house they ever live. How necessary it is that this is a thing they do. How quietly the past speaks. How important it is how we learn. How we listen. How urgent it is to believe that we are worth being saved.




Soil, Sediment, & the Song

when? when does blood trickle
backwards, sudden furling of flora
that has already bloomed? how
does life re-enter the body? myth
of a creation, but the casket is real.
i regret ever thinking that blk boys
in the ground need beget a thing.
give life back to the blk boy, bite
into the empire and give our lives
and our living back. the tree from
which he is hung is what produces
the casket in the grave. stop using
this world to kill us. it need not
flow this way. god, will you shake
us? will you admit the thunder is
yours? please ruin us, us perimeters,
us allowances, us who spend energies
on anything but. please ruin us?
please ruin us, so all of us can finally




Drawing Flowers on Burning Linens

Sketching on my skin again. Postcards to my severed hands. Splitting hairs. Scanning the skin. Army men. Marching the terrain, crawling, crawling, crawling. Walked all over. Grab the mirror and tell it: show me exactly what I want to see. He loves me, he loves, he loves me. And soon enough the devil’s claws weaken and wilt. Soon enough bed sheets are not a place to hide your limbs. I told myself I was deserving of love today. I told myself that destruction would not destroy. I took a look at our dry crumbling earth and prayed to the rubble. The world once whispered my body a lie. It said: you, body, you are not true. And then flowers bloomed. They lined the way. Out of my bedroom, past the sun room, towards the dark wooing moon.



JOSHUA AIKEN is a Pushcart Prize-nominated writer whose work has been featured or is forthcoming in publications such as Nepantla, juked, Winter Tangerine, glitterMOB, Assaracus, and TENDERLOIN. He won the 2016 Martin Starkie Prize for his poem “Disappearing Act(s)” and is a proud alumni of WU-SLam, the spoken word poetry community at Washington University in St. Louis.

Peter Milne Greiner


Call the end an end but we never can

precisely All

that human touch is all

too real now Avoidances, storm

clouds gather their intentions

and compulsions and compulse and reason

and ungather Steady seismographs

measure inexorable stresses

Iron Ages spread

across the lost hemispheres

I walk the gardens in search of ritual

Instead I find the cure for the ingredients

of public domain

There is no public

but the ingredients

are the domain

Unrandomly the waves

send their events

through the food chain

Logic lodges its sign

in my obediences

and the sign remains

there like a hieroglyph It resists entering

the courtyard mosaic

The sign drifts

through limestone, through citied cliffs,

through my millennia-feeling minutes

Medicines, mesas

Cottage bedding

Fossil that records the subtle traumas of speciation

Sunlight off the sea fades the wallpaper

I circle down slowly through a layer of vapor

to the city, to the dormant volcanoes,

to the ruins

of cities that face the ocean and refuse

to speak

Pain relief is painful

Escape, agony

Paradises offer up their fruit but I hate fruit

I leave the Earth-half of horizon as blank as it must be

to satisfy everyone All that is human touches the other

magnetic Poles

out there

Frozen beaches, gales,

desolation murmuring its antilogies to endangered animals et cetera

The grains of sand in those beaches number

in the thousands, thousands

There are more grains of sand in those

bleak beaches than minutes I have spent

in desperation searching for a way to get

back to them,

but not much more, not for much longer

Because I’m starting to get it

They’re escape routes

Stationary stationary

I can hide everything I’ve done and said there

as words, but not words like these

This desert is unprotectable

Projectile is a type of weapon

Gyres are a type of guidance

Birds of a desert mock me forever

My illusions lecture me about how real

they are and I listen to be fair and professional about it

When I was a stoner I dreamt of long red bricks

They weren’t bricks

They were places in the floor

Small places

where you could fall through if you were microscopic Stuff like that

is all it takes to put fear in me fleetingly

Barely, here is my substance

Barely, here is my data

Barely, here is totality’s defeat of spectroscopy

Sad walls Built by aliens A touch-all

I built these buffers, these buffers that

crisscross my empire like aqueducts I planned the sacred

cities myself, I planned their

sacred platforms, their centers and excavations,

their lairs and their hoards,

but my plans were not approved

When I was a roofer I dreamt of diverted sheets of rain

We’re not here and there’s nothing there except a vault

and if that’s a vault this is a strange tomb amongst many

rupturing in the Earth like an appendix and if that’s a vault

this is a pond and this is a pool with a degree of abandonment

JG Ballard could be proud of

It is so huge

It is so immaculate

I look down at the immaculate floor and up at the ceiling

and that’s my own special domestication of special relativity,

my own special eyrie from which I generalize fear

Pyramid Plant, Cathedral Plant, Macreduct

I would call the perfectly good explanations flawed

Aliens, too, infrastruct my vanity, my famous plumbing,

the sleeves I keep my records in

“Place is completed through the word,” Marc Augé reckons

Fancy words for division

Rupture Fault Chiasmus

protrude from the body

like cribbage pegs


is something unknown

about the difference between things in general

What is it I wonder dismissively

Runner-up flag designs for my other

country, the archipelago

The canali run through it there, too


Quadrants of sovereignty

Outward to something like aether,

like ocean that accepts them with

questions, allegories, tell tale signs,

fabulous reluctance

Every pyramid has a capstone that

makes the enemy your name


PETER MILNE GREINER is a poet and science fiction writer. His work has appeared in Fence, Motherboard, Dark Mountain, glitterMOB, and elsewhere. His first full length collection, Lost City Hydrothermal Field, will be published later this year by The Operating System.

Moss Angel Witchmonstr

from Sea-Witch


Wood-Witch existed as a collection of parts. She was never at any point in her life all together in the same place. Wood-Witch’s personality was contained in a red stone that lived for an incredibly long time underneath a desert. No one but this stone ever got to know her. A few other parts of her were made into things that played important roles in the lives of others. She was never dead, but what qualifies a witch-god as “alive” is anyone’s guess. Wood-Witch never existed in a way that could amount to anything like a concept of “experience.” She was a god all the same.



The end of a thing might not feel like an ending. It can be abrupt or drag on. Water-Witch felt like her whole life was part of a movie that should have been over a long time ago. The plot had arced & things had long since been tied up & she was an unnecessary character. This wasn’t true, though. Most of us don’t know what our own story really is.

Water-Witch met Strawberry-Witch when she was working on a pot farm in California. This was after it had been legalized & the two of them were both doing trimming work there. Water-Witch thought Strawberry-Witch was adorable immediately & told her so. Strawberry-Witch, who always loved a compliment, started giving Water-Witch all kinds of attention.

One day while they were working alongside each other, they heard cries from far away. The other workers went to see what was happening & so Water-Witch & Strawberry-Witch joined them. About an acre of land next door to the pot farm had fallen into the ground, leaving an enormous crater & a giant cloud of dust. A little girl was in the middle, leg clearly broken & people were trying to save her, though the edge of the crater kept crumbling every time anyone got close.

A neighbor saw Strawberry-Witch & Water-Witch & recognized them for what they were. “You! Witch-Gods! Help this girl!”

Water-Witch looked at her feet. Strawberry-Witch tried to explain. “We can’t. We can barely do anything.”

The other pot workers agreed. Water-Witch & Strawberry-Witch were some of the worst workers on the farm. “What are you good for, then? What is a god, anyway?” the neighbor asked.



The little girl died. They couldn’t get her out of the pit, & the edges kept crumbling. Water-Witch & Strawberry-Witch held hands & cried. The crater stayed a crater. Others began to emerge in the area as well. There was apparently a system of caverns beneath the whole region that decided now was the time to collapse. Everyone felt the instability. Strawberry-Witch & Water-Witch began sleeping in the same bed. They did holy things with their clits & asses & mouths & held each other with their arms & legs. They kept each other safe as much as they knew how. They did a ceremony for the little girl, which was really a ceremony mourning their inability to save her. They were not the kind of gods who could save her & this thought made them feel as unstable as the ground they walked on.

Strawberry-Witch eventually went back to where she had lived before. Water-Witch cried & hugged her & they made plans to meet again. Water-Witch continued to work at the farm for the next few weeks. During that time her evenings got strange. She was very, very lonely. The loneliness was a fist in her chest that wouldn’t unclench.

Water-Witch stayed at the pot farm until they told her to leave, so she packed her things & drove to her sister’s house. Her sister wasn’t home. The door was unlocked in the back so she went inside. Where the living room couch usually would be there was a banana slug the size of the living room couch. Everything else was just as she remembered it. Don’t leave me, the slug said, twitching. I am so sorry, said Water-Witch. But I have to. I don’t have anything at all.

Water-Witch drove on to the coast. Reality got thicker. She realized she was trying to create any feeling inside of herself other than fear. She killed herself in her mind over and over. Why am I even here, she thought. This is all hurt. At the beach there were thorns that stuck in her tights. The whole planet spun slowly. It’s not important or interesting. Death as a stopping place. She felt her tights rip. They were already covered in sand. The world is dying & nothing can help it, she thought. How am I a whole person. I can’t do anything at all. I’m barely here as it is. There was sand in her mouth. When you squeeze any skin hard enough the sun comes out. It’s my fault. What if it could be over in a way that’s no big deal. It’s not important. A stopping place. It started to rain/it got too cold/she walked to the car shivering. This isn’t because of anything.


Water-Witch’s least favorite thing about herself is that she keeps waking up. In all truth mornings were the easiest time but after awhile it all slid into each other. Mornings slid into afternoons, slid into evenings, slid into times when everyone was sleeping & “cold” became an immersive physical/psychological experience. Water-Witch learned what to do to make time move slow or fast but never figured out how to make it go away. No matter how much time passed, there was always more of it. Water-Witch thought it was kind of fucked up, honestly.

Water-Witch decided to call Strawberry-Witch on the phone. Water-Witch cried to her. She said she missed her, & that things had been terrible. She told her about the bottomless feeling of doom that wouldn’t wash off. How it settled in after dark. How dark kept coming earlier as winter came. Strawberry-Witch was so sweet. She made plans to see Water-Witch again. They talked of doing things together & for a second Water-Witch thought she could be a person, but the phone call ended & Water-Witch found herself staring at her hands again, flexing her fingers, imagining her skull splitting on concrete.


MOSS ANGEL WITCHMONSTR is a transgender writer and artist living in Oregon. She is author of four books, most recently Sea-Witch v.1 (2fast2house, 2017). You can follow this project here.

shelley feller

land use interpretation triptych

land use interpretation triptych

land use interpretation triptych

land use interpretation note


Voyage, Voyage

Voyage, Voyage

Voyage, Voyage

Voyage, Voyage

Voyage, Voyage

Voyage, Voyage


Voyage, Voyage



SHELLEY FELLER is an ex- figure skater/gallery gay. they’re the author of the chapbook, TANGLED BANK & daily bugaboo jubilee (Letter [r] Press, 2016), and their most recent work can be found in Puerto del Sol.

Raphael Schnee


plz b careful
i am cared 4
or i am
full of care
“feels like a lot”

i ask 4 a list of items
in the trash


too many folders


reaching for care (will i reach?) i reach for care


i carve my body in2 paper
the paper says “I care”

my signature
idk the direction
as melody does specific turns
the point
i choreograph
all my gestures
practice w/ mirrors

i am motioning
certainty now
i am motioning
commitment now
i am motioning
my name now
i am motioning
care now

care looks like
my name
except one hand
is performing
& the other hand begins
a full two measures behind
it all looks very complicated
but really
it’s easier 2 comprehend
this way


collecting i am
collecting the action
the action


but setting this aside:


“speak selection reads
selected content”


“oh, there’s nothing there”


take care I take it I take care take care I take care take it take care I take it I take it take it I
take care take care take it


looking out
i c motion
& yet i am alone


collecting my organic computation the dead walking the dead pre-textual privatized mathematics
only moments ago i the flame is real?rn stretching out my savior so much so that the only
care i receive is in the form of a soundscape source material includes glassware anomalies detected in
human terms human terms like “process” “subject” more importantly “of” “her” “no” “ya”
a landscape broken


“you know the game” the game constructed augmented a trance “lost in the diction”


“too much” we might b lucky we r just 2 ppl
proudly laying out my full set “feelings ppl like 2 feel” &
or a very thirsty animal experiencing spillage “labor
intensive” possessing how does one possess sound?
light? the toll it takes 2 hold
longing “feelings ppl like 2 feel”
just like the lighting of the sky rn
clouds “hold” water the light
holds our


sure mayb or idk
mayb s/t less


no one thing
has ever
looked good
having 2 hold
in order
2 get a like back
& even then
isn’t there some
diff between
holding &
holding in?
the action”
“like 2 feel”
all 4 the
2 have an aura



i recognize that it was a body body the shape of the style


almost harming it i touch it


it can’t b held in the dark
the dark can b held
but w/ what?


the memory of previous light

or else what?

a trace

a map

a sign

a ruler

a code

a graph

a line

a sound [

some other data
that can inform the user
of a certain point’s
global position
must b collected
whether this is
thru the use of
mechanical engineering
or logic
or other means is at
the user’s discretion
tho it should b noted that
the data collected must b
stored in the proper
location (this location
can b a nonreal
point & may b impossible
2 locate using
the methods
previously mentioned)

once the location
of the stored location
is located the user
can easily access it &
apply this information
2 any context by merely
using the brain


RAPHAEL SCHNEE can be found in high definition in Brooklyn, NY. They’re a poet / artist & a student at Pratt institute. Other work by them has been featured in Alien Mouth.

Sean D. Henry-Smith


Dirty Nails

eat me Infinity Serpent High Priestess of Sun the flowers we ate went straight to my hips
rosy red w/ sweet water linen draped i feel so squishy today maple molten orange rind i
awake when the Sun fills my mouth fills me w/ too many peaches my tongue is bumpy my
torso is garden a maelstrom of thistle kisses sdhs & i inhale light dirty pupil learns today
how mud purifies & an increased sensitivity to nightshades i lift my head from the train
tracks it is nice to sweat it reminds me that i am open whether i like it or not the conditions
will decide

calm down clam down

an anointing of sunlight & almond oil
i spoke to Sisyphus this morning & he said fuck this shit

a cyclical madness

the can worm the can fish the mercury line the retrograde

archival poisoning, brazen ashen — i am the earthworm :)

a new threshold a new pain balance & good god almighty the beet drip for your smoothie

i’ve wasted a lot more time than necessary looking for the tools
they’ve always been right before me

they’ve always been right in my hand


me resplendent me repentant me repugnant
fattening & sickening: it’s me again
the milk drown the milk drown

separatist for survival
the mile swallow the tar fall the curve curve
curve the night life the night show all
windows open

gargle the milk drown fight back the milk
drown spit back the milk drown

several fistfuls of moths in my belly now
sumac shift cloud drive the fall water
i can reverberate morning how many mornings i don’t mean to interrupt, but have you seen
the moon? how many moon falls how many nettle bellies
in midst of misty carcass nibble; the crows too must eat
don’t bark at me motherfucker, i live here
the grey crawl the moon shimmer i love you, publicly the light peak the leaf fight still learning to
wield these weapons w/ you

hidden in milkweed to spy on your father
adrift in goldenrod; an uncovering w/ you
assisting the decrescendo
it has been a wonderful September & I love getting to know you

“kill your politicians & go outside”




SEAN D. HENRY-SMITH is a poet and photographer currently living and laboring in Syracuse. His first chapbook, Body Text, is available via New Delta Review. You can find him online at @surrealsermons and

Marty Cain


In 1992, my brother had his first life-threatening seizure. My mother tells me I was on the living room floor playing with a toy ambulance, manically opening and shutting the doors. It was in the afternoon. It was in Dover, Vermont. It was possibly summer. They left me with the neighbors. We’re going to have a real good time, the neighbors said. We have some roast beef to feed you. I remember the car moving down the long driveway, entering the dark wood, crossing the edge of what I knew.

I remember the world turning red when I closed my eyes and tried to see through the colors. I saw the specks of purple, I saw them swirling into black like pins stuck in my retinas by the force of a Bully God, who hangs you by your ankles and calls you a name and I put my head to the pillow and I heard a thunder.

I remember a time.

I remember a time when we were in a car in rural South Carolina. My brother began seizing, we were talking in the backseat, then his words ceased to signify, they began to garble and turn like an ocean or the simulated sound of an ocean in a shell you hold to you ear, your own blood / a circular river, I remember his eyes as he spoke, I remember seeing his eyes speak, they said, Listen, I don’t know what it is I’m saying.

They said, There is something true in what I’m saying.

Then he didn’t speak. Then his eyes shifted to one side, his mouth like a garage with nothing in it. Then trickling saliva, neck limp and hanging. I remember my mom saying something. I remember the car speeding up and a force pushed me back, we ran through red lights. I don’t remember whether I was scared.

I remember a time.




I remember a time in a McDonalds parking lot, his body slumped on a pile of glass with the sun beating down and the oil of french fries on my hands. I remember a time sitting on a stairwell with my arm around him, and when he began to seize, the stairs seemed longer than they’d ever been.

I remember a time when I was twenty. I was in college in upstate New York, sitting in a café in the middle of the summer. I’d recently decided I wanted to “be a poet.” I’d recently decided to write about my trauma, but I didn’t yet know it had a name. I remember sitting at a bar facing the window of the street of the small central New York town, the white students and professors and farmers ambling round. I shut my eyes. I imagined my brother’s skull, and the sounds he heard when the seizing began, metal sliding on metal and clicking angrily like a broken projector in a theater filled with unspeaking bodies who stare at the screen, some of whom are dead, some of whom have holes in their skulls that are stuffed with straw with errant strands protruding from the crest at the top (who is the projector-man? who is the eye?) the cigarette smoke nearly filling the room as I follow the lights along the aisle, as I follow the lights and think of the road at night with the yellow line moving and breaking and solidifying like a kind of film / like a kind of flesh; I open a red door and inside that door I enter a den; inside that den, a holographic bovine; inside that cow, a mossy womb. And I reach through that moss and feel the squiggle of worms who scurry away at the scent of flesh; I dig in deeper. I push through the brain. I push through the fissure. I push through silver and the innards of squirrel, and I find a wound / I find a jewel / I find a reason.




I remember a time.

I remember my parents would call 911. It was my job to watch for the ambulance, running in my socks across waxed floors and then squatting in the corner by the kitchen window. I remember my brother ass-up on the living room rug. I remember the blue skin, the men wearing blue pants and blue jackets with bags that were blue, and carrying oxygen tanks, then sticking a syringe in my brother’s ass while I’d look away.

I remember thinking, He could die.

I remember not crying, thinking, Why is this normal.

I remember a time.

I wrote, My brother looked like Darth Vader with the mask on his face, like they were trying to remove a hook from inside his stomach. I wrote about fishing with my dad when I was a kid, and the fish I caught had swallowed the lure. My dad ripped open its body before my eyes, its lungs red and pulsing inside a cage. I wrote, Make me a ghost. Let me fix my brother with ghostly hands. Let me open the window and float on the roof and see the people in the street like bugs I could squash.

My mother was filling the bath. She said, I’m glad you’re such a healthy boy.

I love you, Alex. This is my first time using his name in a poem.





Virgil, trans. David Ferry: “Time takes everything we have away from us.”



Is the existence of the wound self-evident?

It appears the existence of the wound is self-evident.

1. Whereas the wound is the space where the subject becomes permeable,
where the stone wall collapses, where the arbitrarily delineated retainer
collapses, where the subject joins with the body of a genderless fawn and
sews its skin to its earthen dreams.

2.Whereas the wound is text like swallowing stones.

3.Whereas it leaks fluid on the seat of its mother’s car.

4.Whereas my wound is art, for art is a splinter, for it throbs beneath the
membrane of the body (it hopes to repel it) (it cannot repel it) it swallows
artifice and turns a greenish at the surface in its futile attempt to expulse
the Other. My wound was the already-decaying cow the drunk teenage boy
tried to tip, his nubile fingers diving through rotting flesh and wrapping
around an epiphanic gem that rested uncomfortably in the web of bovine

5.An injury to living tissue, caused by a cut, blow, or other impact, typically
one in which the skin is cut or broken.

What is this poem, and what is its contract?

6.The poem is air with a hole in the center.

7.For the lights in the rows they lead to the hole.

8.I swirl my fluids in a metal pail and the milk it forms a more human heart. I
will break the glass. I will step on shards. I will bleed my insides through the
macular drain.

9.Édouard Glissant: “Relation contaminates, sweetens, as a principle, or as flower
dust… Relation comprehends violence, marks its distance.”

10.A written or spoken agreement, esp. one concerning employment, sales, or
tenancy, that is intended to be enforceable by law.

11.I exist because I own this land. I exist because I own your body. I exist
because my name is written. I exist when I drive my car and look in the
mirror and see the faces and close my eyes and hit the wall and close my
eyes. I exist: for I am real.

12.A wound surrounded by mountains which are made from paper, which float
on nothing, which make thin moats around yr heart, and the throbbing
knight comes to say we are dead.

13.The wound is not real.

14.The land was a godsend. The fence was an opening.



I shut myself in a dark room and make
the door-seals melt away, I swallow everything
in the medicine cabinet and sink in the tub
and spit up bile and let it drip down my chest
and flow the length of my abscessed legs
the nebula mingling with blood in the water
and sweat of comets and toenails and bits of lint
when I write I crawl angrily out from myself
I pull a ribbon from my innards and call it virtue
I call it a mother fox rooting through piles of leaves
I call it a dying planet I knew as child
I was born to breathe and kill my parents
and bury my possessions in fecund earth
I have bile dripping from my ass and staining
the sheets and my words let me break inside my neighbor’s house
where I drag my ass on the carpet and leave treads
I break and slide I empty the wine I flush my body
I piss in bottles I speak to the houseplants I play the records
I shatter the glass and cut my skin I stick it with knives
I stick it with pins and eagle talons and become a God
and smite the oceans and drown the cities and pluck
each hair from my crotch in the bathroom on my back
like a baby clutching my ankles with elevated thighs
I sniff my asshole I see the fields I break the skin my ruptured fabric
this poem spoken by the radiator broke and dripping
in the corner of the house where we lived all winter
and had no food and had no water and had no heat
and watched crime shows on daytime television
and slept with the oven open and roaches cooked
my chest a den in a lightless cavern I am a loveless beast
at the base of the pool I am a sleeping dog at the base of the well
and the sounds come round me when I wake and see stars
and moon filtered through and I smell the ocean in the distance
and taste the salt and taste the blood and when I speak bile leaves
my mouth and when we kiss bile leaves my mouth
and touches your lips I leave blood prints on glasses of wine
and I left blood prints in the corporate halls
and I left blood air when I breathed in my school
and when I hit the locker and licked the linoleum
like they said to do I pulsed inside when they pressed me to the wall
they said we have now tainted your virginal asshole
you have now been fucked in the rear by the son of a cop
who was high on coke with hell in his eyes
I am only waters of a churning ocean
I piss currents like Niagara I burn betwixt layers
at the home of the preacher I ride up on my bike
and throw heavy rocks and break each window
I walk inside and the door to the kitchen is shut with light
flooding from the crack I kick the door down and the preacher’s wife
is screwing the boy from down the street, I know him from class
I start back and leave the room as they start shouting
Get the fuck back here and I’m out of there, I’m not thinking
about the bile that leaves my mouth before it leaves my mouth before I
lick I break I open up I swallow the feathers of birds of fish
of deadtree current the elm hollow the silver prick the sweat
of the moon soaking through the pants of god as he stands nervous
before the Delphic realm, he says Today we will dissect the body of a frog
I rode in a cab to the center of town
and the man he held a knife to my neck he said Don’t you move
and he pulled each coin slow from my pocket and he kicked me down
I hit the concrete I sniffed the gutter and no one saw
my body as they passed I decompose I grow to nothing
which is to say I do not grow I lick bile I spit bile
when I yawn I splatter the blood of hogs I sing of God
who rips wings from pigeons dead in the park I sing of God
who bleeds from each orifice and snorts pebbles from his nose
I sing of God who is a flicking tail of a horse for love is a horse of course
whose gas fuels the stench of hell whose trash and toxic waste
end up in hell the project is unsustainable the light from
the peripheries the gas station clerk with a toothpick
hanging from his lips the current of bass in my head as I walk
to the register the bile behind my eyes
inside my ears I hear a drone I wake everyday to the sound
and sweat through the sheets and drill a hole in the wall
which I fuck I cannot even speak until I have fucked
the wall in the morning until I have dressed and petted the cat
and fucked the wall and showered and eaten and spit up
bile in the base of the tub and on the tiles and burning
and burning and burning and breaking and burning and the smell
of hair burning left on the stove don’t fucking tell me
I have nothing blue left to say or my bile means nothing
to the bodies piled before the void to the titans trading cards
in the yard after class to the broken marbles at the base of hell
to the drawers where the devil keeps confiscated toys
I snuck in at night I stole everything I saw
I got a slingshot I hit God in the back of the head
I stuck a shiv in the paw of Peter’s cat
I bounced a rubber ball against a painting of Mary
I broke open the caskets filled with the sinners I rounded the wagons
I filled them up I left lit candles and didn’t give a shit whether
they burned all the tents down, so of course they did
so of course I spit bile and spiders left my throat and laid
their eggs and took their drugs and made mazes in skies
and the swallows kissed paper planes as they crested the air
and I ran out of things to think of as I laid on my back
as I thought of the stars


MARTY CAIN is a poet / video artist. His first book is a long poem called Kids of the Black Hole (Trembling Pillow Press, 2017). His poems have appeared (or are forthcoming) in journals such as Fence, Tarpaulin Sky, Gigantic Sequins, The Pinch, and elsewhere. He resides in Ithaca, New York with his partner, the poet Kina Viola; together, they run Garden-Door Press. Presently, he is pursuing a PhD at Cornell University, where he studies experimental poetics and the pastoral. Find him online here.


Reba Fay

Buried There:

A bee mutating the lime green front porch’s safe space
The bee is “liminality”
The bee is gilded clit, a pun on snatch/snitch,
Free from the constraints of animal and/or woman
It is easy to name yourself, hard to tell others
Let my name be this sting cleaving red, puckered fat
Or name be the loose black hairs I gag from my shoulders w/ tweezers
Tell my name I want to be totally plastic, flat like boy or bitmap,
Real name a sinewave coiled like an ingrown hair beneath my fake name
Name boring geology of the latex bodysuit I groped with surprise
At the sex shop in LA where I basically died
Though all the tour guides were right: palms & pussy-smell & dying
There’s dying everywhere, what did I expect?
World take this labial deadname, this Motorola buzz in the grave
Or chime abscessing the flat plane, a hole for C sharp and the boy me
Buried there so no one can smell him


Prove It:

I keep my muse slender
Excuse me
There she is now
Spelunking an Oreo
For white is a damning color
The color of fat
For if I had a vacuum hot enough
For if I had a third hand
There are so many things I am afraid to touch
Distressed “woman”
Garish calorie
The world balking at the edge of it
You darn your pointe shoes alone
The other girls buzz together
As one as many
Miss Jenny comes to teach you
How to do it the right way
With her hair and obese body
Though when you say you are sick
She will not believe you
Prove it


“O Interior, my wounds are your wounds” – Nathan Hoks

I who want to be 14 years old and small

I who am water freezing & melting endlessly

Me with my aura: thyroid w/ a hint of mimosa

I with my fat-stuffed dovecote

Which hides everything living

Though I have faith in the pastoral

Though I have faith in gender entirely

The phist a fruit bruised with logic

Which like light touches everything

Except Ben who is either

A seam or an epigraph

Before the list of nutrition facts

On a bottle of Muscle Milk left curdling

In the sun for days like a billboard

Or someone else’s old Myspace page

Which could be yours or couldn’t


REBA FAY is a poet-composer from Washington D.C. A graduate of the University of Virginia, she is an MFA student in Sound at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago who performs music and text under the moniker Swan Meat. Recent full-length publications include Welcome (Gauss PDF, 2016).