Category Archives: Poetry

“Luxury Lucent” – Poetry by Steven Ray Smith

Dream of Luxury – Dorothea Tanning, 1944

The grand finale of our Spring 2018 issue is Steven Ray Smith‘s brilliant poem “Luxury Lucent.”

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And then one day,
the marble fortress with armored
windows at the corner of profusion
boulevard and especial
avenue sold a moment of lucent insight instead
of diamonds.

For an extraordinary occasion surpassing even
the summoning to fertility of the wedding,
the chronicling of survival in the birthday,
gratitude for fertility of the anniversary, and
the annulling of failures of the funeral,

they opened the hefty and segregating doors
and emptied onto the display case their lifetime savings
of begrudging tolerances, spurious excuses,
and self-serving deceptions in return
for a tiny box tied in ribbons
the jeweler slid across the glass.
They will never afford such luxury again.
But if they grasp how this can be —
an empty box, nothingness wrapped in preciousness —
they won’t look to.

{ X }

STEVEN RAY SMITH‘s poetry has appeared in SliceThe Yale Review, Southwest Review, The Kenyon Review, New Madrid, Tar River Poetry, Puerto del Sol, THINK and others. New work is forthcoming in Barrow Street and Clarion Magazine. His web site is at www.StevenRaySmith.org.

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“Pink Lemonade” – Poetry by Gabriela Garcia

Trilogy of the Desert: Mirage – Salvador Dali, 1946

“Pink Lemonade” is one of four menacing yet vulnerable poems by Gabriela Garcia in our Spring 2018 issue.

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YOU WAKE IN THE DARK
& are not suicidal
so much as flirting
with the look of it
the way you consider
pie under glass at
a diner, polished
& dark red beneath
a cross-hatched top.
Who really sits down
at the diner & orders
just a slice of pie.
It would probably
taste like all those
things you could
never eat as a child,
like chugging pink
lemonade at the barbecue
because it was never
allowed in the house
unless there was company
over. It would taste
like the first time
someone sucked your
tits & didn’t call.
Our bodies have all been
through the desert.
We’ve all had a mirage
of water on the blank
ceiling & wondered
what it might be like
to take a sip.

{ X }

GABRIELA GARCIA is a Pushcart Prize nominee whose work has appeared or is forthcoming in North American ReviewWord Riot, No Dear and elsewhere. She is a James Hearst Poetry Prize finalist, the founder of the podcast On Poetryand an MFA candidate at Columbia University, where she serves as Poetry Editor for Columbia Journal.

“Self-Portrait as Pokémon #568 or Trubbish” – Poetry by Brandon Melendez

“Self-Portrait as Pokémon #568 or Trubbish” is Brandon Melendez‘s forlorn yet infectiously optimistic poem from our Spring 2018 issue.

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       BECAUSE WHO DOESN’T FEEL LIKE TRASH, sometimes? A bag of meat

bursting at the seams with old boots decomposed cat   expired trojans    & a potato.

At least I am full       with something. At least every Tuesday     someone will hold me  
      
all the way to the curb & I won’t be alone. All of us unwanted  anathema polyethylene

skin   we will gather            to empty ourselves           of what rots inside us. So grateful

to break open           in a way that does not bleed. Praise the fungi      & rotting bread.

The toothbrush undressed of its bristles.  Praise the mystery juice              how it leaks  
           
                        & curdles

                                                                & grows a new body.

Praise these bodies                                                           & the flies that deem us a home 

                                                                                  good enough

                        to raise a family in.

{ X }

BRANDON MELENDEZ is a Mexican-American poet from California. He is the author of home/land (Write Bloody 2019). He is a National Poetry Slam finalist and two-time Berkeley Grand Slam Champion. He was awarded Best Poem and Funniest Poem at collegiate national poetry competitions (CUPSI). His poems are in or forthcoming in Adroit Journal, Muzzle Magazine, the minnesota review, Ninth LetterSixth Finch, and elsewhere. He currently lives in Boston and is an MFA candidate at Emerson College.

“Menace” – poetry by stephanie roberts

Carnival Clowns – Willem Cornelisz Duyster, 1620

“Menace” is one of three fiercely evocative poems by stephanie roberts in our Spring 2018 issue.

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THERE IS A WORD FOR EVERYTHING
a flock of seagulls
a menace of clowns
the ova of fish
(known informally as delicious)
the offspring of mr. lion and mrs. tiger
another name for the reverse
the moniker for squirrel tits
the inner sex organs of women
and the outer petals
(often referred to erroneously as vagina)
i call you beloved
(you dismiss this,
insisting on freudian terms
cathectic,
hysterical, i hope
you mean funny)
we’re never talking about the same thing
open your thesaurus
pass your each, every, per
pass your one plus one
pass your zeta
what describes your broken dream
of forever?
i say won you say second
i say me jane you
true husband
then it is sunrise
the earth lights agreement
let’s right the dictionary
for our common prayers.

{ X }

stephanie roberts has work featured in numerous periodicals, in North America and Europe, including ArcturusThe Stockholm Review of LiteratureOcculum and Atlanta Review. A 2018 Pushcart Prize nominee, she was born in Central America and grew up in Brooklyn, NY. Twitter shenanigans @ringtales.

“the barbie slasher” – Poetry by sally burnette

“the barbie slasher” is one of three terrifically twisted takes on famous dolls which sally burnette contributed to our Spring 2018 issue.

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IT’S SUMMER & THESE COOL TEENS ARE AT A PARTY // it’s this one girl’s birthday // you can tell from the blurry balloons // & tiered cake in the background // she chugs what is implied to be vodka // & there’s this soft flashback// to when she was a little girl

it was her birthday // she got angel face barbie & was so happy // innocent // wholesome // or whatever // & now she’s covered in glitter // & dancing suggestively to generic club music // which screeches & suddenly // everyone’s in slow motion for a few seconds //

the camera zooms in // & nestled in the shiny pile of gifts // is the same barbie from before // ! // except she’s like evil now // as evidenced by her red eyes // peering around menacingly

people start getting slashed // there’s blood all over the guy-whose-parents-are-in-cabo-for-the-weekend’s house // & eventually everyone escapes // or dies

except birthday girl // who was the primary target all along // but has somehow survived

she limps around the darkened silent mansion // & when she enters the kitchen // she encounters barbie wielding a sharpened stiletto heel // she grabs a knife & screams // they fight // & finally stab each other // it’s unclear who wins // because the screen blacks out // then flashes forward // to when the paramedics arrive

the camera pans first to the girl // waking up on a stretcher// then to barbie // decapitated

one red eye // twitches

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sally burnette is originally from North Carolina but currently lives in Boston, where they teach at Emerson. Their work has appeared or is forthcoming in Nat. BrutBOAAT, Pittsburgh Poetry Review, Calamus Journal, and Yes, Poetry.

“The Virus Shaves Her Legs” – Poetry by Katie Longofono

Woman With Stole – Jean Dupas, 1929

“The Virus Shaves Her Legs” is one of four gritty & enthralling poems by Katie Longofono in our Spring 2018 issue.

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ITCHING FURIOUSLY TO BE SMOOTH
like every woman
on the subway, she soaks
for 3 hours and sands down
to the skin. The virus is shocked
at how much it bleeds,
like her shins are crying out.
Must take some nerve
to go naked after dressing
with such intention — she grew
a stole at first to repulse
desire, covering herself
in animal skins and furs
lusty for red paint, and kept them
for the luxurious feel. Slick
and wiry, a boar or a mink.
The virus was a crop
of cacti or dragonfruit,
whatever spike goes right
to your head, she was dying
to get under your skin. Now
she takes off the armor,
goes raw and rightfully
invites you, if you want to
come in.

{ X }

KATIE LONGOFONO received her MFA in poetry from Sarah Lawrence College, where she directed the 2014 SLC Poetry Festival. She is the co-founder and co-curator of WEIRDD, an inclusive monthly reading series that honors weird, rigorous poetry with loving kindness, as well as compensation for their art. She also co-produces AmpLit Fest in partnership with Lamprophonic and Summer on the Hudson. She previously co-founded and curated Dead Rabbits Reading Series 2014-17. Longofono is the author of three chapbooks:  Angeltits (Sundress Publications 2016), Honey and Bandages (co-authored with Mary Stone; Folded Word Press 2015), and The Angel of Sex (Dancing Girl Press, 2013). Her work has appeared in The Boiler JournalTinderbox Poetry JournalBOAATglitterMOB, South Dakota Review, Juked, Slipstream, and more. She lives in Brooklyn.

“If You Water a Horse” – Poetry by Abigail Welhouse

Corncob Horse in Outer Space – Maria Primachenko, 1978

“If You Water a Horse” is one of three exquisitely offbeat poems by Abigail Welhouse in our Spring 2018 issue.

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IF  YOU  WATER  A  HORSE,
flowers will grow from its spine.
They will die if you pick them. If they live, they will grow
into water lilies as large as goldfish aquariums,
then into beanstalks you will climb to giants.

If you dry off a horse, the desert will give you a message.
You will know when you find sand in your boots.
When you empty them, you will uncover a tree.
The tree is a gift from the giants.

{ X }

photo by Jason Koo

ABIGAIL WELHOUSE is the author of Bad Baby (dancing girl press), Too Many Humans of New York (Bottlecap Press), and Memento Mori (a poem/comic collaboration with Evan Johnston). Her poems have been published in The ToastYes PoetryGhost Ocean Magazine, and elsewhere. Subscribe to her Secret Poems at tinyletter.com/welhouse.