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.

Grey Vild

The pill is the objectivity of the mouth

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

 
 
**
 
 

The pills speak

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

 
 
**
 
 

The blue of the pill is sweeter than the pill itself

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

 
 
**
 
 

The truth is you ain’t never comin’ back

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

 

**


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

Adrienne Herr



**

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

Maggie Woodward

 

 
**
 

 
 
**
 


 
 
**

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

Jonathan Aprea


I Think of All You Often

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 
 
**
 
 

Infinity Pool

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

 
 
**
 
 

The Shirt of Happiness

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

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

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

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

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

 
 
**
 
 

Missing Person

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

 
 
**
 
 

The Lifeguards

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

 
 
**
 


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

Leena Joshi


**

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

Toby Altman

 

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

Cristine Brache

QUEEN FOR A DAY

Queen for a day
#1 pity stories
You win

 
 
**
 
 

WHAT YOU HAVE INSIDE IS WHAT YOU HAVE TO SELL

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

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

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

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

 
 
**
 
 

IN NATURE

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): cristinebrache.info