Cristine Brache


Queen for a day
#1 pity stories
You win



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



in nature
im mature
im nature
n immature



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):

Joe Milutis

(a poem in 33 gifs)

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


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.


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.


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.

Justine Lai




04 - new version.gif


Up for your consideration is this old lot of 14 world war 2 era japanese internment camp hand carved and hand made jewelry brooches and pins,  all authentic and original and were all made in tule lake internment camp in the early 1940s. These pieces are very well made, and you can see the japanese took pride in the work they did. There were quite a few photos and documents in this estate about the internment camp, and we sold most of those last month, but we are still finding more, keep an eye on this site, and you may see some more.


07a - fka 10


excellent overall serviceexcellent overall serviceexcellent overall serviceexcellent overall serviceexcellent overall serviceexcellent overall serviceexcellent overall service




JUSTINE LAI is an artist based in New York City. She holds degrees from Stanford University and Cranbrook Academy of Art.

The TORF MICROGRANT PRIZE is a semi-frequent microgrant given to an artist or group of artists to complete a special project. Follow us for more information on forthcoming funding opportunities.

Robert Balun


there’s weather today
but it’s gotten in static

in the anxious and


the predatory


violence of demarcation

I get surprised by
the angles
of the sun

of voiceprint

of wavelength
as function
and frequency
of time

I woke up

and wanted to

find you and ask

what do you
think of today

or tomorrow

here I am
my teeth


there is always

someone else
to blame

inside the restless

I remember talking

but not

a word
of what I


I was a part of that

but I forget

the way rain




the insectine




the newest


the point is to erase you

at home

I drink down all my yields

I listen to my neighbor

talk on his phone

looping our


I reach down

what am I
looking for

on the floor

I’ve got no passwords
I’ve got nothing
to hide

it’s all there


maybe if I leave
the lights on

the house will flood with bright

and I can collect
my scattering amplitudes

then tomorrow


Sodium Lights

does today feel like a day to you

awake but then everything

still some kind of

people talking
then dissolving

people talking

coming through

all loud and static

white noise

burning like lanterns

a name dripping
from a mouth

in deltas

of flawless blood
and jubilee

fantasy of dilated time and access

the sunny void

a few more minutes of here



I always get lost here

I don’t remember exactly

I remember I was there

with time

running like a script

we drank sparklers

called it celebration

looked for glories

what does it take
to feel like that

like new

like always

when I was commanding fleets

when I was steeped in victory

these are secrets

I pay the fare

I am

I carry me again
into the morning



    “insist on your embrace,
    double your fury,
    create a space for damages”

       -Alejandra Pizarnik

what is the weight of a garden

or a city

what is our labor
our architecture

what is the price

who pays

the unit of the day

who could you be
without debt

without context

who will you be next season

inside the pace
inside the disembodied

palace and kingdom

I’d like to carve out an ocean
to remember our cells
once knew jellyfish

I look up from years
and find only minutes

the radio playing crickets


ROBERT BALUN is an adjunct at The City College of New York, where he teaches creative writing and composition. His poems have recently appeared in Prelude, Barrow Street, Poor Claudia, Apogee, Cosmonauts Avenue, and others.

Kirsten Ihns

you want to be just like you, but

like, who was that trajectory, anyway

it was like finding a text
and around me nature was being
the kind of person who knew the hunt
for the wolf is the hunt for killing it

and the food was utterly nowhere:

he put the newspaper on the sit
in the meantime

it is either running or not running
these are the things we can know of the fridge

we know them while the size of a world grows under the sentence
in the presence of another with no size at all—
i just know how to be
a force and its empress
kicking my slit in the air:

the girls have learned to swing their legs in a way that is synchronous
they teach us this from the earliest age

– -my devices are the prettiest
of the things i betray—

make a copy of the wall
then peel it off
walk out bearing
the room on your shoulders.
i know
if i allow this nail
to grow
it will curl back into my finger
hi there, darling, i’ve come home
to you
fix my constellations from a ladder
arranging the loves and their restrictions

enter each day like

you will never get free of the people you have

the animal goes up the machine
it goes up
the machine of its step order
like a climax
flag on the dune
is it knowing
how to be good
about the come-down, now

hard thing to know
to be good for
fix that unfolds in time by means of causes//saying the wrong thing at the
same time//saying contagious object//pithy visual idiolect//peculiar to
street signs//still lives//ticker sticker countdown//parade!

protocol machine cherry i drew through my mind like a figure
and savagely it lets me

savage the long stem
its districted tonal forms
green aureole deep cerise taint rouge and melancholy thick luster

all over

what you wanted is an icicle for the take home
and disappears
as i’ve been here waiting in this glade for years

custard venal limber scented like a lemon incense pure but too thick to be pure
what i wanted is what i wanted doesn’t change not much
lux site
what i would burn up to have:

flush nervous seething something untrue in this mid winter winter ring—
mind fever beater green dream
but the sun asphodel rose blinking its order center talc coda for which i am standing firm on
the hilly reprise trees
and bitter polypore stick mantra, as bitter wires as a tricked winter

here is the place Necessitates the Visual Pivot

silk project, dirty penumbra subject to the photobox subject videopool so i come

to negotiate the surface settle my flesh on its sharp angles love it
as a sound that appears and calms to something else entirely:

polyplex, edifice
strapped to the machine of the pleasure
levers, white racket of the strayed
body o what
has fossilized in you
what is there given in this place to do

i eschew the past tense
because the past is just a little to my left relaxed

which original aspect do you wish to resume

as an annelid, but i shed my rungs
-progress -compost -one rich soil

object that listens to the world soft-eared resorbing
each sound as a new richness, new form to be
in pharyngeal futures pushed over
just slightly i find

i want the one i was afraid of
to speak to me
in the stride
of a novel permission
what is it that responds to my attentions

the term in its bright love radiant as any enveloping
flot blameless

a room without a heat in it
to people my evening

so i want

to trace the rise of the pvc

so i do, i call you up you let me
watch you in your bath

so fine in the soap, it’s exactly

so you are where the screen is

you are a positive and floating in it

you take the soul out where you can’t seem to carry it

so total in the water

so figure freer than its sense

so strong in this license, i like to do what you want with me

the water is a weak turquoise, but sparkling

it glints a bit where it pools in your ears

as you lean back into you are in the camera oh to be so ready

the only thing it insists on

apple in its early acid

flesh with a wish to dispersion

its very governance

new in its new teeth

blue and the hot kind of vain—

letter to be seen

stamped in it too reflects

the night its sky comes down in chariot, chariot

pitchy green—content to have been carried away
& sweet & utterly rutilated
KIRSTEN IHNS is a recent graduate of the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, and will be a Ph.D. student in English Literature at the University of Chicago in the fall. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Bennington Review, Black Warrior Review, The Offing, BOAAT, New Delta Review, POOL, Thin Noon, and elsewhere. She is from Atlanta, Georgia.

Kay Gabriel

1. Peroration

Stephen Ira is in the bath!
Stephen Ira is ten feet tall!
Stephen Ira wears bright blue trunks!

The scandal Stephen Ira
The dandy Stephen Ira
The infamy, Stephen Ira

Stephen reads the poems of Roberto Bolaño,
reverent in church.
Stephen reviews the Letters to James Alexander,
and takes them to the zoo.
Stephen enjoys the personas of Dennis Cooper,
bluely inside.

My invoice for 78 cents, Stephen Ira
My receipt for a whiskey rocks, Stephen Ira?
My rich deserts, do they look okay?

Stephen, musk-redolent
Stephen, multi-orgasmic
Stephen, quasi-violinist

Liker of Forster, Stephen Ira!
Delighter in Stein, Stephen Ira!
Pleased by Genet, Stephen Ira!

As Doctor of Dental Science (D.D.S.):
thunderous, abrupt
As Philosophiae Doctor (Ph.D.):
impressive in shorts
As laboratory scientist (???):
moistly attentive

Plushly on the carpet, Querelle:
A loser of jeux, a cheat
Criminal in criminal body hair.

Transfixed at the mirror
and enjoying something made by her wife.
Alice, Gertrude, Gertrude, Alice, appetite.

More suggestive of infinity than any railway,
Stephen Ira! The Schlegels are upon us.
And what do you intend to do?

2. A Country Weekend

Stephen is late to catch our train. “Sorry,” he says, “I was on my antique telephone in a
nightgown. Guess the film!” But I let it slide. Why fight about it? We are going to the
country. Breathy chit-chat gives us an auspicious start, but directly we sit down a spirit of
the age appears neatly across the aisle with an inscrutable tome, which she folds across
her knee. Accosted!

THE RAT RACE: Pipe down about your email! This is the quiet car! Lights the fuck out!

She makes a good point, so we pick up our sandwich wrappers. The next car features a
granite bar, mood lighting, and crustpunk on the speakers. Ice-cubes in the shape of
pearls rattle with our relentless forward motion. Isn’t it glish, Stephen Ira! I open my
mouth to say so.

GAVIN DEGRAW, TENDING BAR: I know you! You’re that hot pants kids. Don’t you
have opinions? Well-fucked by moonlight, proud Titania! But I shan’t be having your
business, Mary!

What to do when both of you are Mary? We have to agree, even our currency shares our
proclivities, well-assed by moonlight. Shall we proceed to the lounge car, Stephen Ira?

Oh, for want of a fainting couch! Yet as we pass into the car I swoon onto a convenient
chaise longue. When I come to Stephen is talking to a man in achingly tight pants. “Me
too!” I say. Stephen makes introductions: “Kay! Come meet The Real Deal. He plays
piano for the lounge society.” The lounge society? For indeed women around us chomp
on fat cigars. Sofas stuffed against loveseats recall so many bumper cars, an afternoon on
the Seine. The Real Deal strikes up Porter—

THE REAL DEAL: You’re sublime—you’re the Analytic—you’re a lime—for a churlish

This Real Deal tickles my nose, Stephen Ira, can we keep him? But then the rest of the
lyrics momentarily escape me out of embarrassment. Farewell, tight pants! Away we fly to
the following car. The train, indeed, devours the countryside hurtling on towards—but
here we have arrived in our own private bureaucrat.

CREAM OF THE CROP, Private Bureaucrat: What’s the big idea? Which among you
frequents the state capital? Show me some plastic! This form belongs to another decade!
What is the glyph beneath your port of entry stamp? Who sews the pants? Who lays the
tracks? Who sets this thing in motion?

Thus baffled by questions we debark quite by accident at the last stop on the weekend,
and were forced to start all over when, just now, the telephone began to ring—

3. Matins

I brush my teeth with the writer Stephen Ira

I masturbate with the writer Stephen Ira

I run laps with the writer Stephen Ira

I tend bar with the writer Stephen Ira

I pull the plug on the writer Stephen Ira

I dilate next the writer Stephen Ira

Am in cahoots with the writer Stephen Ira

brew coffee for the writer Stephen Ira

stamp stamps with the writer Stephen Ira

I lick letters to the writer Stephen Ira

I sext the writer Stephen Ira, on accident

Am up all night with the writer Stephen Ira

Am at pains to determine, Stephen Ira,

My morning schedule with the writer Stephen Ira

with the writer Robert Duncan

with the writer Kylie Minogue

with the writer David Wojnarowicz

with the writer Stuart Hall

with the writer Neil Smith

with the writer James Earl Jones

with the writer Sylvère Lotringer

with the writer Sky Ferreira

with the writer Rylee Lyman

with the writer Hart Crane

with the writer A.B. Robinson

with the writer Gertrude Stein

with the writer Louis Zukofsky

with the writer Samuel “Chip” Delany

with the writer G. “W.F.” Hegel

with the writer Gaius Valerius Catullus

with the writer David W. Pritchard

with the writers Zach LaMalfa and Cam (Cameron) Scott

with the writer Friedrich Schlegel

with the copycat August Wilhelm Schlegel

with the utopian Helen Schlegel

with the symbol Margaret Schlegel

with the pregnant Schlegel

with the perilously rural Schlegel

with the upbeat low-rent Schlegel

with the Schlegel Stephen Ira

and the Schlegel Leonard Bast

and the Schlegel Leonard Bookcase

4. Noises Set in Motion

Like machinery aufhob manufacture i.e.:
preserved and cancelled, “superseded”
since “sublated” is (a nitpick?) a table reserved for G.W.F.
and his friend G.W.F. Hegel, it is fancy,
it is latinate, it has a determinate origin,
it wears elaborate socks, it incorporates the thread
from its socks into its person, we might suggest:
“sublate” is a little gay.

Thus “reproduces,” “blots out,”
“abstracts”—like machinery and manufacture thus today
who can tell the bather from the bath?
And would you like one?
And would you like to tell your friends?
And Stephen Ira, where is he?


KAY GABRIEL is a poet and classicist. Her chapbook Elegy Department Spring (BOAAT Press, 2017) was the finalist for the 2016 BOAAT chapbook prize judged by Richard Siken. With David W. Pritchard, she’s also the author of Impropria Persona (Damask Press, 2017). Find her provocations on Twitter at @unit01barbie.

Shiv Kotecha

“I’m Sorry Shiv, I’m Sorry Diana”

He didn’t fuck her for years.
And she begged him to.

But they had a son.
So, that’s a lie.

They fucked probably
a couple of times.

They definitely fucked.
and she only probably

begged once or twice
before giving up

and loving him,
leveling her desire

to fuck him
against what she knew

was more reasonable
than begging him

to fuck her
as fucking a man,

as her son knew,
as she knew,

involved many
forms of begging.

As many as learning to
love a man does.

There were as many ways
To fuck by begging

As there were ways
to deal with a kid

who learns all that it knows
by flipping everything

it sees into a language
of begging.

It was true.
They fucked

to make him
and he made

sense of it.
Made sense of the men

who lied about wanting
to be fucked by men

for years by lying
repeatedly to anyone

who would listen
to him about the ways

in which those
that made him

begged like he did,
and didn’t fuck,

without apology,
maybe because he

knew men were for
the most part bad

at fucking women,
and when they were young,

at fucking men,
but at any age

were terrible to talk to
about fucking anybody,

and so chose to
disregard the ways

in which men might beg
beg women to fuck them

for the ways in which
women learned to lie

down and ask men to
do the begging for them

or maybe because
he wanted to be the man

fucked by men he knew
confused godliness for manliness

but only ever begged
to be fucked by women

and so chose not to be a god
himself or maybe because

he knew that
he could fake begging

for love as easily as
he could fake prayer

and that all it took
to absolve one lie

in the eyes of nobody
was another lie

that is said to them
with the conviction

with which a friend
says their friend’s name

to them, says Shiv,
says Diana, to get them,

to understand that they
don’t need each other

for anything more
than the friendship

they are willing to
give to one another

at any particular moment
as any moment between

two friends has nothing like
fucking that ties it together

to the next moment
than the lies that are

told by one friend to the other
about how they can’t.

She didn’t fuck him for years.
And he begged her to.

But so did he.
And he went on.

and on and
she listened to him.

She heard him say,
I don’t think

that I can.
Which he said.

He did.
She knew she heard him

say it.
And she heard him say

I really, truly don’t
like men.

That’s what he told her.
I’m not gay.

It was true.
He wasn’t.

And he said so
many times

or so she thought
he did,

sitting there,
with his legs

wrapped around
her face

as he said,
You don’t seem to get it.

She did
get it.

She was listening but
he just never said it.

He smiled.
She smiled.

He went on.
I don’t want to fuck you because—

Well I mean I love you but—
look, he said,

as he sat there
with her underneath him

waiting for him
to get off

or to say something
other than I love you

so that she could
do any one thing

that either of them
might want to

try doing to each
other purposefully

if she could just get her arm
out from underneath

his leg.
and put it on

top of him
as she once did

with her dick
before he had the chance

to say stop.
Look, he went on.

I don’t want this to be sexual.
Put these on.

She put on his pants.
She looked at him.

She had never even said
she wanted to

She wanted to

be his friend
which she knew

involved as much specificity as
someone who you fuck might

involve specificity
but not openness

to things other
than fucking—

the same way
that loving a cat

that is yours
and no one else’s

might also involve,
one, specificity

but also two,
the understanding

that cats are ultimately
dumb creatures when it

comes to building a relationship
with anyone that chooses to

love them, having learnt,
over the course of thousands

of years that raw
flesh is tastier to them

than friendship
ever could be.

She decided she knew this
So she asked herself:

Does a dick
cat require being loved

the only way a dick
cat wants to be loved

or knows how to,
she asked herself.

She decided that
she was wrong,

at least about cats,
because she loved

too many of them
over the course of her life

and over the course
of theirs, as friends.

She thought about all the cats
she loved with the openness

of friendship
and whether or not

she’d let herself fuck
them even if they were all

dicks to her.
She thought about

the ways in which
though he would try

Shiv would never understand
that kind of love.

Can I call you “Diana”
she asked him.

You definitely can.
“Hi Diana.”

He gave her the smile
he gave her

before he would laugh
in her mouth.

Come on, listen.

I don’t want to fuck you because—
let me tell you a joke.

Bicuriosity killed the cat.
You get it don’t you.

It’s a joke Diana.
It’s not gonna happen.

Just because I said it
doesn’t make it true.

But a joke works as a good example
of why I won’t ever fuck you.

This one in particular—
I mean what if

every time we fucked
a cat died.

You love cats.
You even write about them.

In your poem, “God was Right”
you give many examples

of why cats are good.
You make a claim,

like you always do,
that God decreed it.

how would you feel

if you were God,
if you were “Diana”

and every time I grabbed
your great big God dick

and shoved it in my mouth
while you pushed my head down

so that I could kiss
the shiny halo, golden and red

your pubes make
so as to both weep

and reap your God dick,
Diana, as worship

before you pull me off
and flip me around

and slap me in the face
to send me a reminder

like God sometimes does
that all things need to keep moving

that they cannot be
you command, like God

at all inert
or else we’d fail

at fucking
and if at that,

then at living also,
which is different

from what we are doing now,
not fucking but just talking—

a cat died.
Think about how many

cats would die
if we started to fuck.

I mean we wouldn’t
stop fucking.

We’d go to bed.
We’d get up.

We’d fuck.
We’d go to bed.

We’d get up.
We’d fuck and

we’d go to bed.
We’d get up and again

we’d fuck.
We’d go to bed and

we’d get up and
we’d fuck again

and cats would die.
Our cat would die.

And then more cats would die.
Every time we were awake

and were fucking.
Whatever that means.

Just think of their names,
he told her.

I’ve named all the cats
I’ve ever fucked.

Think of all the cats
you’ve named,

that people you call friends
have named,

think of all their names.
Émile. Monster.

Kirby, Arby.
Lanny, Beta, Parker

Ed, Alejandro.
Bev, Joey, Aaron.

Crayon, Tompkins.
Edie, Holly.


Feller, Ester Jane, Fernando.
Nemmie, Corina.

Coco, Kitty,
Bridget, Opal.

Greg, Tim,
Anna, Hannah.

Marie, Radish.
Flanks. Delores.

Nina-bug. Sailor.

Tegan, Winnie and Josie.
Amie and Andy and Nook and Lucy

And Thomas and Studio Cat
And Erin and Josef and Chris.

Kristen and Brave Horatius.

How would you feel
if all these cats

with all these great names
about who they are

to us
and to your friends

stopped being sweet
stopped licking

stopped purring stopped biting
stopped stretching out

stopped wanting
anything at all

and died
when we fucked

and with them
our friendship.

The joke is just an example, Diana,
of how this won’t happen.


You don’t seem to get it.
This is not an argument.

Let me tell you another joke.
Let me touch your pussy.

She laughed
as she sat there

with him sitting on her head
held tight between his legs.

her chin tucked up against his briefs.
Two, three maybe sheets of cotton,

she thought,
the only thing left between us.

I’m Isabel.
And he’s Pierre.

And we will fuck
like they did.

I’ll Pierre
his Isabel.

She looked at his briefs.
It’s all she could see.

And it’s the only thing—
she thought—between us.

Just two to maybe three sheets
of soft to the touch

cotton fabric.
It might not all even be cotton.

10% or 90%,
80% or 40%,

some of it’s gotta be

memory yarn
so that there’s a little lift to it,

she thought,
when he’s soft,

which he was,
for years,

but that I’ll get to see,
put to work,

when I finally
get him hard

and shove him in my mouth.
She cleared her throat

And began to say
This is good—

but had to stop
because she heard

Shiv purr and put
his hand into her

beard, calling
it his beard

and without saying
anything else bit

her as a cat bites
its toy, on her mouth

—This is good,
she went on,

like cats are good,
that there is not just one

but two or three
sheets of cotton

that I can get into
with my fingers.

Stroking the valleys
that dip against the hems.

I’ll flick them
until the cotton gets soft

and wet
and opens itself up to me

so that the dick just falls out of it
as the tongue does out of my mouth

and makes its way
to the dick

after having licked its way
through the folds of his

cotton briefs.

It’d be just like he always said
fucking a cat

was like to him,
she thought,

as her hand
cupped his dick

so that she could feel
it sit there

with her,
softer than the cotton

of either his underwear or the sheets
as he looked at her

and said or felt nothing
but thought.

long and hard
to himself

about which of her friends
he’d let fuck him instead

counting them
like souvenirs

while deafening her
with his legs

for who knows
how long,

for a year,
probably more,

at which point
she realized

that what he wanted to say
even though he wouldn’t

was that everyone
had already fucked

everyone else
except for them

and that was the reason
they needed to keep talking.

Diana remembered then,
as Shiv did,

the time she realized
that she could not for

the life of her remember
where she had read

something Kenneth
Koch wrote, but which

she knew, at least,
that she had read

when she was 18
when Shiv met her,

not her, but his lover,
the one he learnt to

replace with her, Diana,
and her friendship,

and that he had said,
Koch, that ideas

were basically wasted
in conversation,

that they were better,
or straight up just

worth it,
Koch wrote,

if they were written down,

as if for some kind of posterity,
as if for his kids, Koch’s

or for theirs,
Koch’s readers,

But not yet shiv,

or, if not for the children,
then for the possibility that

ideas, when they are written down,
and not wasted in conversation,

have the ability to
be as cherished

as children are cherished
unfucked yet,

untouched by the body
of language as speech.

And as she tried to remember
what Koch wrote,

she remembered how he,
Shiv, told her in conversation,

and not in writing,
that she should forget about it

because most of Koch’s ideas,
especially that one,

were totally bullshit,
and irrelevant,

and that Koch really
only ever wrote

one good poem anyway
and that was a poem about

talking to Patrizia
who “doesn’t want

to talk about love
She says she just

wants to make love
but she talks about

it almost endlessly,”
like they did

just without ever
having to fuck.

But I don’t even want to
fuck, she thought.

I want to go to the movies.
But first, I need to get him off

of my head
and so she thought,

why not
tell him a joke

not about fucking but about how
she felt at the movies.

She fucking hated jokes
and he knew it too.

She preferred to be persuaded
by way of description

rather than by jokes
which she thought

required a level of stupidity
and seriousness

only suited to those
who were already fucking

and had decided to quit trying
to get each other

to become hosts
to one another’s vulnerability

but she knew she could pull
off a joke as she could

in an argument for
something that was true.

She gave him a bad one.
Let’s go to the movies, she said.

I like it better when
I touch you

between the seats
instead of

in the sheets.
It worked.

He said her name, “Diana”
and shook his head

and got off of her.
She slipped

into something pink
and soft.

So did he.
Eventually, fucklessly,

he laughed.
And she got off.


SHIV KOTECHA is most recently the author of The Unlovable (Troll Thread, 2016), EXTRIGUE (Make Now, 2015). Other work can be found online at GaussPDF, Jacket2, and at

Enzio de Kiipt (trans. by Mitch Calzone & Kit Schluter)

Romaunce of the Abject Apiary, Book Two
By Enzio de Kiipt, trans. M.C. & K.S.


Sooth be told the raiment of another always seems finer. I’ve felt myself only rarely, but that is because it is not my task to feel myself, no, I am a mere chronicler, a small god counting fish as they rush in the River Ultima to fates West of Folk, where words are born. The Oldest World, they call it. And that is where I am going, although I must confess it is where I am from.

How can I possibly convey the hue of Tho’rakyn’s azure flesh, it’s opaline sheen and careening heft like a heaving ocean, without seeming mad? I’ve spent many nights agaze at my neighbor’s lantern, guessing at the names of ancient words, as if the fire would dance in the right direction, as if a pageling would appear in its plumes of smoke to hand me a cryptic answer. Reader, as we go on in this Romaunce, you would do your best to remember that no such thing has happened, and still I stare at that flame.



Eventide seeped in winedark rills, the bloated sun burning like the eye of an ignoble parrot. Beneath that smoldering panopticon, Aleph Baro ran her taupe hand down the Zir’s velvet culottes, tracing runes of eretimes on his thighs. He picked up a cheetough and delicately placed it in her wet welcoming mouth. The Mother of Cuck’s eyes shimmered like the opaline baetylus of Zone Nereval, the cheetough dust on her lips not unlike the auburn sands which surround that most sacred and magnanimous stone in its desert fane. The Zir, possessed by physickal urge, leaned in for a kiss and was met with a resounding slap.

“Zir Duane!” she furrowed her brow.

The Zir shrugged in the lackadaisical manner which brings to mind that poem by Anon Chan, the daring concretist bard of South Web, the original Maester of the physioglyph style, (in)famously rendered as follows:

̄\_(ツ)_/ ̄

She got up and brushed the debris fromage from her flowing turquoise sari. “You know I cannot know one’s mouth this time of the season. Once the second trimester has passed and the Sickle Sisters draw the names of the proto-cucked, then I’m all yours. Mayhaps.” She knelt down and kissed the Zir’s frizzled, feather-strewn mane.

“Of course of course,” the Zir muttered as he stood up to face the Mother of Cucks, “so I suppose you’ll be making your way then?”

She sighed like roiling mist, “Othracia calls, I’m afraid. Goatsblood, it truly is a cesspool of rehearsed decadence, for they reap what their poets and lawyers sow. It is only when I am in that pretentious port do I dare reminiscence of the erstwhile reign of the ruling throngs… ”

The Zir’s eyes lit up like a pregnant moa, the fetus of inspiration throbbing within Duane’s mind. “As much as you deign to ride there, I must ask of you a favor.”

“Oh?” The Blade-Daughter of Nyverene arched an eyebrow in imitation of the famed bronze-trestled viaducts of Near Ortharcion. “You have my ears, find your way to my heart.”

“I need you to go the Stadium Arcadium and parlay a message to the Tenured Bards there. Give them this written decree as well as recite a Zir’s Proclamation.” He withdrew from his sleeve a slender vellum letter sealed with beefwax.

She stuck the missive in one of her linen’s deep folds. “And what is it, exactly, that you proclaim, Zir Duane of Reade?”

“Tell them that, this year, for the first time, the Feast of the Toasted Poet is going to be held here, at Tackleberry Keep, in the Palatinate.”

The Mother of Cuck cackled with sadistic delight, “Ooo Duane, they are not going to like that. For how long has it been held in Othracia? Ten, fifteen hundred years!”

“Precisely,” the young animus hissed through his gilded teeth, the gold dust in his saliva shimmering with the vitality of his intent, “Six months hence, there will be coronated a new Poet Laureate of D’urst, replete with the grass crown of Mater Graminea and the Glasscoch Rubies, yes, and it will be held here in the keep! Where else could it be? And ah before you ask, I know how I shall get it here…” He stood up and stole to the alchemy bench – whose usage lately had been more conversational than transmogrifying – where yet the Zir still kept a few amalgamations stewing as though baboon rump over a country tavern flame. With the haste of a reluctant proto-cuck fleeing from the steps of Nyverene Hall, the Zir muttered his edict into a dissipating wildflower whose drifting remnants mingled with the discolored fog of indiscernible gurgling reagents (Mildew-milk? Banshee dandruff? Ghost feathers?). He brought the bronze flame to a steady roast and with thrice-great pumps of the ozone bellows gave birth to a snarling and swirling zephyr which rose up into the mechanized heavens in stringent plumes: licks of purple-then-teal-then-orange smoke curled to form the vague outline of a giant. The Zir held aloft a velvet Yobian drawstring purse, as though an offering to the baleful Aeon nigh and to the Mother of Cuck’s surprise, the zephyr sucked itself into the Yobian drawstring purse with a pleasant slurping sound. The Zir Who Was Once Not A Zir tied a belcher’s knot and then handed the purse to Aleph.

“If you see Andreas Durbane within the hallowed halls of the Bards, give this gift unto him, for he is the Loremaster and Keeper of the Names of the South and North Webs and will find this new zephyr and its capabilities to be of the most relatable. Realizing what Tackleberry has to offer, he will no doubt be swayed to our – and the Palatinate’s – poetical cause. In fact, I know he himself covets the grass crown most of all.”

“So what shall you render unto me, Zir? You know I don’t practice the Work for noncery.” The Mother of Cucks flipped her hair and demurred.

“If you do this for me, then Ben Fomo shall grant you access to one of his Sycophants. *Any* one of them.” He tilted his nose whencewise.

Aleph chewed this over in her mind for a minute and for reasons unknown to any folk, acquiesced to the Zir’s request. In concurrence, Zir Duane of Reade and Aleph Baro gripped each other’s forearms with hot beefwax on their palms, cringing at the prickling pain, though the goatbumps upon their flesh belied the physickal pleasure derived thereupon as well – the Sickle Sisters couldn’t draw the names soon enough, thought the Zir, letting his fingers stray a hair too long ‘pon the Mother of Cuck’s arm. She smiled gracefully at him and he bowed as low as he could, much like the famed “drinking bird” of Cassione. She eyed his prostrations with some amusement and then picked up a cheetough – for the road, she noted in her head – and departed without so much as a sigh. The Zir looked up from the parquet floor if only to watch the baobabwood door close. Above him, beyond the imitations of his iron-wrought firmament and into the deep reaches of the physickal plane, the planets traced their true destinies in looming constellations unequalled in their ensorcelling beauty. Their luminous bodies danced of their own accord, without any care given to the mere laws of men – as is the wont of all rightful things.



Apropos of all matters is the roll of the dice. However distant chance may seem, be it known the Gods are gamblers, my Reader, and even I, a cardinal of the enlightenment, a libertine to most, will profess such a heavenly belief. Why, even the most plastered bettor in some debased Othracian Chancery can discern that luck is a physickal force reckoned within the Aether itself. How else to explain the sublime coincidence which presented itself so dankly to Tho’rakyn? And how else to execute upon it – this chance to sail the gurgling seas and meet his artistic inspiration? From a manatee-hair purse he plucked a megalonyx-bone die and cast it across the stained expanse of his handmade boarwood illumination lectern, an iconic piece ornamented with the likenesses of his dearest departed D’urstian friends throughout the ages – legends and demigods such as Teutch Gregaryion, the mirthmaker of Turbid Insula and Aki Abbess Onda, the prima donna of antiquity whose stagecraft was of such perfection that despite her celebrity and ubiquity across the South Web, she became one of the most successful and notorious spies of the Second Drunken Wars. She, in truth, was the gifter of that rare and bristled satchel from which Tho’rakyn drew the die which lay on a peeling ochre splotch, its face bearing the mint green seal of Mune, signaling – in this divination game just invented by the Milker of the Golden Goat – that he ought to stay in the Palatinate and not take heed of Gohodrun’s cryptic offer, tantalizing though it be.

“Bah!” he snatched up the die and with the fervor of a terrified capybara facing down a divergence in a forest path as a she-wolf stalks close behind it, he scurried out his yurt and wound his footfalls close the marble escarpments as they sloped to the green quadrangle which terminated at the circus tent comprising the Bartlebane Cafetorium, named so in honor of the Zir’s favorite poet of the Bluddei School. “Puhhaps” thought Tho’rakyn aloud, exaggerating his accent for his own personal pleasure, uncaring of the zephyrs and speakspirits which ramble the Tackleberry grounds, “Puhhaps I ought to take the portent revealed by this accursed sloth-borne die and act upon its exact opposite!” He giggled like a yak, “Yes, yes, Fortune is a cuck I’ll swear that much! Psuedoprotoprophetics be damned, I must make haste to the Merkin Wharves!” Wearing his resolve as though a finely-plumed trilby, the Mountain Who Moved the Sky stood at the sweeping blue lace entrance to the Cafetorium:

“But first, algae on toast.”



Having supped without incident and finding his viands aplomb with piquancy, the sated Hand to the Sarcoline Udder perambulated as though a boar amongst heathland, sucking on the marrow of a most plump matter: he was needed at the Merkin Wharves by Eventide – ought he to make haste there above all else or would the Goat will it that he tarry more and risk missing his barge such that he may parlay a farewell to his cherished Zir? Ruminations churned like young gold in the heart of myriad nebulae. Each thought let the sky grow a bit darker. He should not have helped himself to fourth servings of the kumquat souffle.

And so his vacillations swung heavily like the neck of a dying moa and his face resembling just the same. Oh if only Tho’rakyn had affixed the toadstone to his brow and saw his visage, awath in dweebian pathos! The Zir tittered like a cuckoo clock awaiting the anon hour. He stuck the spyglass in its holster and gave the five-fingered whistle: his harpies screamed with delight and took airs, their leathery wings pulsing great gasps of cloudbreath as they arc’d and pitch’d towards Tho’rakyn. The preternatural pair alighted on the Milker of the Golden Goat’s shoulders – he looked up at their smooth androgynous faces with bespoke wonder, reminded of the mannekins crafted by the textile merchants of Siraai, a few of whom are said – in hushed whispers and obscured script – to be in possession of elevated physickal arts which impart life unto the unanimated and bestow intellect as though lighting a lantern. Such a flame flickered within the irii of the harpies and their breath was like jasmine and fresh silk as they flashed cerulean fangs. With a single beat of their wings they lifted the Mountain Who Moved the Sky off the soil and into the free Aether where his aurelian tresses bloomed in all directions as though a radial behind the head of a cephalophore. To what durance do these rough beasts deliver me? Tho’rakyn wondered hurriedly as the ground below him spun further and further away. And will I keep my humours about me ‘fore I land?

But the harpies flight-path streamed true and without turbulence nor intervention of unwanted airbone artifact they soared with the sureness of devout pilgrims, the call-and-response rhythm of their pinions soothed the raw seas of the Mountain Who Moved the Sky’s mind- not unlike the convalescing effects of ducksalt upon the gallspleen: a pungent swirl of relief churning like a gyroscope within one’s corpulence. The Purpureal Zir waved from the parapets, hot bulbs of laughter bowling down the flanges of his cheeks as though in imitation of the gemmed sycophants of Anti-Sarco, “Good-bye, old friend!” he shouted, his right hand flapping in exultation as Tho’rakyn’s silhouette drew e’er-fainter, “May the Goat guide you! Look down, My Gate and My Key! Remember to look down!” He stood with his hands on his hips as the edge of Tackleberry Keep’s rooftop esplande as Tho’rakyn’s tiny mass meekly waved back to him, no doubt rendered speechless by this inimitable act of immaculate surreption. It was with that laudatory steelo the Zir Who Was Once Not A Zir sent off one of the few folk in the D’urstian realm he truly dare call a friend, a chum, a compatriot, but alas, a danger to his most intricate machinations.


And so the Triumvirate strove through the air as though cnidarians of the Mer d’Schyte, weightless and tumbling through the foam and recesses of time. Heeding the hallowed words of the Zir, Tho’rakyn stole his eyes downward and took in the landscape of the Palatinate: the rolling ridges of chernozem, the vying hunks of Mendouk shrubs forming the fangled heaths where young cucks play, the terra-cotta and limestone rooves which plotted the residents of the realm in chromogeometrics snug as honeycombs, and ah, there, nigh-dissipated by the distance, he saw the shimmering walls of Tackleberry Keep, those hallowed grounds that the Hand to the Sarcoline Udder’s quondam called home. In the distance, coral clouds slithered towards their nameless origins, their chemtrails parameterizing a horizon splayed by the Sirenese ridges to the east and the mountain stronghold of Mein Bhrogart to the west but with ease Tho’rakyn flexed his vitreous humour and flew his sight past those landmarks and onto the Blue Veldt which sprawled its way to yes, there, the sea I can see it! Tho’rakyn hollered and the Harpies pulled higher so that the veritable Mer, that massive roaring abyss, came into the fullest extent of Tho’rakyn’s ken. And as the harpies aligned themselves for landing, he bore full witness to the churning humanity of the Merkin Wharves, blots of noble groupings whirling and stirring and Tho’rakyn, hearing in his head the grandest and most soaring tune – inviting to his mind associations of the Turqish romps and Syzthezine hills of his ere youthdom, plying and flying with the bee-maidens and wax-wives of the mossy hamlets which notched the escarpments and thrice-great canopies of South Web – he thus began to gesticulate madly like a conductor deep in the Muse’s thrall, throwing his meaty claws in heaping swoops as the violins kicked up dust and the wharf-bells rang out their dulcet-yet-dolorous peals. Somewhere a vuvuzela babbled a long burbling note and The Mountain Who Moved The Sky snarled, pulling his left hand down in concordance with the riggers swinging mizzenmast-to-aft on the schooners and ah to his east and west a flock of bay-gulls swooped along with him, their wings beating a rollicking march as the trumpets and krummhorns of Tho’rakyn’s imagined orchestra sounded their brass farts in ebullience, horse-bells ringing out aloud too and the harpies yodeled in tones melodious and true as they set the Hand to the Sarcoline Udder upon the planks of the wharf and then took off spiraling with laughter, spinning a skyward helix with the bay-gulls in tow.

Hardly a soul turned their nostril at this triumphant debut, whose gallantry brought to mind the theatrics of those vision-seekers who trekked to the vast barbed-ques and bonne-freres of the Nereval Burning Men but here, in more bustling and industrious lands, such pomposity and insistence was met with an efficient shrug, for there is eternally the specter of work. And so laborism, that backbreaking ideology developed by rich perverts in Othracia, went on: the stevedores – wearing elegant diapers of Nymdian cotton – swung their brass hooks and hauled ass as the wharf-wardens enumerated legumes and the rum-fetchers sloshed towards the hog-shackles and alehouses which constituted Festooned Street. Smelly cucks nipped at Tho’rakyn’s heels as they chased one another with dried out tentacles affixed to reeds, the raw lack in between their legs plainly visible. Above it all, carefree nimbuses of mirthroot vapor ambled their way from Horniquen’s Saloon to the docks and over the elevated goat-rail, which Tho’rakyn marveled at as though a child drunk for the first time. Although hardly a stranger to these strange piers, he was ceaselessly impressed with their vitality and their dankness.

He eyed the declension of this season’s harrowing orangegreen sun, estimating the time to be a little past Dodecum-Thirty and thus nearing Eventide-Minor when all the ships shacked up for the night, save the scant few – “the wisest of the fools”, they are called in the untranslatable bubble-voicings of the Mergons – who cast off to make the Night Sail. Who among the fleet deign to make that voyage this dusk? Who among the barquentines and triremes and xybecs and feluccas and trabaccolos and – in case you thought I forgot but tell me, distant friend, does one ever truly forget, for even when the image is naught but ebon mist in the mind’s eye is it truly forgotten…it is simply misplaced in the many ateliers of the Memory’s Palace awaiting fain circumstance – no, I did not forget the heaving dromon which sat apart from all other ships due to its girth and odium, what with its zyyggurat sails scouring the skies. Nor did I forget the menacing and manifold oars lining its flanks as though a sharpened ribcage. How many rippled warriors gripped the wood within its sweaty gloom as the dromon lolled in the Mer as though a sinister d-j’in on its hypnotically-woven cassowary feather carpet? Undoubtedly more than the number wishes a d-j’in is allowed to grant in its lifeline, that is to say one hundred and thirteen. And so Tho’rakyn, swallowing a lump in his throat, knew he would be taking his seat among them to make the Night Sail.

Yes, although Gohodrun had offered to pay for Tho’rakyn’s passage, that did not mean it came free.



ENZIO DE KIIPT is the author of several Romaunces, including The Romaunce of the Abject Apiary.
KIT SCHLUTER is a translator of The Romaunce of the Abject Apiary.
MITCH CALZONE is another translator of The Romaunce of the Abject Apiary.