Tag Archives: #19 (Fall 2018)

“Beyond Love” – Poetry by J. David

After the Death – Wilhelm Kotarbinski, circa 1900

“Beyond Love” is J. David‘s macabre yet moving poem from our Fall 2018 issue.

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                                 — After Emma Bolden

IF THE SAINTS ARE TO BE BELIEVED then this body is a thin line
we walk between dead children stacked like xylophones
across a sad and lonely street. I am the only throat in this town.
The lights have been out for years, whole blocks are built from paper-

weights— the kind of city you keep with an envelope and mangoes
on the dresser. Through the broken of the glass I can see the body
as a wire, tapped between two lighting poles I am always looking past
in the dark. I look at you and whisper fuck me till the sky turns blue.

Isn’t it magical how the dead can still celebrate? How I can still believe
in this body as the space I take up between you and what I lose
next. I do not regard myself beyond love, but we all imagine death
to be a kinder bed than grief. We all lack proof enough
to make us stay.

{ X }

J. DAVID is from Cleveland, Ohio and serves as poetry editor for Flypaper Magazine.

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“Dear Anybody” – Poetry by Denise Jarrott

Grotesque – Takato Yamamoto, 2005

“Dear Anybody” is one of two uniquely romantic poems by Denise Jarrott in our Fall 2018 issue.

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I CAN FIND ANYTHING ABOUT YOU BEAUTIFUL, even the things that other lovers told
you were grotesque. You don’t even have to ask. It isn’t that
I am incapable of endurance. If anything, I can go for miles trailing that part of
you behind me, that part which cannot be contained.
I am here with
you at your window. The things it faces will appear as
I see them: the dirty sparrows, the iron fence with the grapevine motif, the mailbox
you painted to appear more friendly to the mail carriers listening to podcasts
                       or gossiping about who was cheating on whom. Woe to
your landlord who glued the sills shut, so that no one can hear me when
I scream. And how I’d scream, uncontained.

Dear Anybody,
I cannot say anything about me is pure, except how like bread dough my love for
you expands with each punch, each indentation, stupidly it fills itself in, to the shape.
I take my shape based on the container. I will love
you, Anybody, the same way I’ve loved everyone else, as if
I am rich in time, in patience, if only to exist with
you in the transparent blue window in which no one else exists. If only
I could prove to you how deep the water is through the glass bottom boat
you agreed to board with me, scraping along the latest reef. This is to say
I am about to capsize, and the red of this coral breaks my heart only to have it mend to
your specifications, a different shape.

Dear Anybody, this is to say that
you will break me in a very specific way, as all bodies do. Once,
I asked someone, in the space of a poem such as this one, to let me sleep in
your bed and feed me seeds and let me drink bitter tea, to tie up my hair so that
I can exist only as a body. Once, I gave a whole book to someone wholly different from
you but it is like handing them a snake that sits so still on the wrist.
I gave over my whole life like handing over a jar of buttons, expecting devotion.

Dear Anybody,
I can tell you this, if you let me, I will give
you the strange objects I have made of my life, but
I cannot tell you what to do with them.

{ X }

11C778AA-14A2-448B-A630-288358E1828EDENISE JARROTT is the author of NYMPH(Vegetarian Alcoholic Press) and a chapbook, Nine Elegies (dancing girl press). She grew up in Iowa and currently lives in Brooklyn.

“Chemtrail Mist of the New World” – Fiction by C.D. Frelinghuysen

A frustrated husband and his paranoid wife try to cope with their realities in “Chemtrail Mist of the New World,” C.D. Frelinghuysen‘s paranoid & poignant flash fiction from our Fall 2018 issue.

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MORNINGS BERNADINE HAUNTS THE PORCH.  She glides back and forth, white hair untethered, clutching the egg timer, glaring at the sky. “I dare you,” she tells it, as if we don’t live under the Atlanta flightpath. Right on time, Delta 49 appears from the northwest, slicing the sky with a white wake. Bernadine mutters and winds the timer to five. Ever since the Doctor cut her to half time for unprofessionalism she’s been able to perfect the details of her delusions. And after Bernadine squandered our savings I’ve had to unretire from my fine decade of alcohol abuse and represent morons at traffic court, but business is slow and so most mornings I’m stuck here with her.

Last summer at a minor league game Bernadine got beaned by a foul ball, knocking her into the next seat. She was out for a full minute, but when she came to she waved off the paramedics and pushed through the crowd to the parking lot. She grabbed the car keys and drove home, but took a strange route, and kept looking in the rearview. When we got in the house she had a whiskey and a Tylenol and went to sleep. At three a.m. she suddenly woke and shuffled into Tricia’s vacant bedroom, which we’d turned into storage, and booted up the dusty computer. She spends most of each day in there now. I’d heard of a man who dove headfirst into the shallow end and could play piano afterwards. Bernadine, during her brief time in the void, had mastered keyboard and mouse. I caught the ball off the rebound, by the way. Bernadine called it the instrument of her trepanation, and had it mounted above the fireplace. But the baseball was only the final straw that broke her. Lightning ignites dead woods, not the living.

It’s her fault I know every plane by its name, how many engines move it, every federal poison it belches, and why five minutes of linger tells you what sort of smoke is coming out.

Yesterday I had to coax her down from a box in front of Chase Bank, where she was denouncing the fraud of fiat currency. The police officer didn’t scold me, or laugh. He just wrote down the phone number for Braxbury Convalescent.

The timer erupts. Bernadine measures the sky, clicks her tongue, goes inside and shuts all the windows, despite the heat. She clomps down the basement steps and I hurl my spent smoke into the yard. She comes out wearing her gas mask, no longer a ghost but an olive drab and dumpy elephant. “Looks like arsenic today,” she gasps. The Brauns are watching from their window.

Continue reading “Chemtrail Mist of the New World” – Fiction by C.D. Frelinghuysen

“Thirteen Reasons” – Poetry by Matthew Meriwether

Pure Reason – Rene Magritte, 1948

“Thirteen Reasons” is one of three trenchant yet tender poems by Matthew Meriwether in our Fall 2018 issue.

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BECAUSE ALL MY MONEY IS MADE OF MY DEAD SKIN

Because I am still trying to tell a long story to the dinner guests with a fly buzzing around my hair

Because I run toward the mirror every time I think I might look like a person

Because I’m still making eggs then throwing them in the trash, their bright yellow like daffodils or a girl in a dress laughing in a closet

Because it’s fun to pretend to have courage

Because it’s fun to pretend to die

Because I prefer spinning around an empty house

Because I wear a dress in the summer to trick all the dirty boys

Because my bucket of treats for the boys is a pile of my dead skin

Because I have sewn my skin into dresses, for tricks and for spinning around as if I were dumb

Because it’s fun to pretend you’re an unknown genius then vomit in the champagne bottle you brought with you

Because it’s fun to think of yourself as already dead, or as not having a body

Because I run to your house every time I think I know my name

{ X }

MATTHEW MERIWETHER is a writer and performer living in Fort Wayne, IN. He writes and performs music under the name Fresh Tar, and hosts events in cities across the country, including the reading series ‘Life is Sad, Here is Someone,’ and ‘A Party for All of Our Questions,’ an experimental social gathering. Matthew is recently the author of Knock Knock, a chapbook of narrative prose (Dandelion Review, 2018).

“omen” – Poetry by Monica Lewis

Winged Creature on Silvery Ground – Vajda Lajos, 1938

“omen” is Monica Lewis‘s beautiful, blooming poem from our Fall 2018 issue.

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A FLUTTER OF WINGS CAUGHT
stuck inside a rain soaked gutter
i count the seconds between
each beating

the tree they thought dead last year
now specked with tiny blooms on every arm
a hundred branches splitting themselves open
to flower the life that though
encased, all winter months,
never stopped breathing

this land where beauty lays herself
out like an easy lover, but
between every blink, she reminds,
for every inch given there is an inch
taken, and the seconds between
grow longer,
the beating of wings
grows weaker

he steps out into the mud, sweet, slow
heavy boots toward the life caught drowning
as five turns into ten turns into twenty seconds between
my own beating turns to a bleeding
and the gray fog clouds the mountains until
they are sucked into sky

and i can no longer see the blue or the green

but he returns
points a thick, steady finger to the elm tree
just as the night is all i start to see, i hear,
“there, there, there she goes” and a bird,
not our bird, but a bird with unwetted wings
flits, flies, and flutters above

and the branches are blooming
and the gutter is silent
and i remember amy’s words:
“the woman on the ledge will
ask herself a question, the
question that occurred to that man
in Bogotá. he wondered, how we know
that what happens to us
isn’t good?”

{ X }

MONICA LEWIS lives in Brooklyn, New York and holds an MFA from Columbia University. Both her fiction and nonfiction have appeared or are forthcoming in SmokeLong Quarterly, Apogee Journal’s Perigee, and The Margins, and her poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Rust + Moth, Glass: A Journal of Poetry, The Boiler Journal, PUBLIC POOL, Yes, Poetryand(b)OINK, among others. She is a VONA/Voices alumna and has been twice nominated for “Best of the Net” in 2017 and 2018. Her full collection of poetry, Sexting the Dead, will be published later this year by Unknown Press. Follow her on Twitter at mclewis22.

“The Moon Made Out of Bloated Cheese” – Poetry by Juliet Cook & j/j hastain

The Voice – Agnes Lawrence Pelton, 1930

“The Moon Made Out of Bloated Cheese” is one of two fantastically freaky poems by Juliet Cook & j/j hastain in our Fall 2018 issue.

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THE MOON WILL ALWAYS BE PRETTY WHEN IT’S OLD,
at least until it breaks the earth into pieces.
Flings more grappling hooks into each of our eyes.

It all ages quickly. Tomorrow is the day the leaped will
invade my larynx and contribute
to my paranoia. How are we supposed to know
what constitutes a healthy or unhealthy
size or shape of our own voice box?
How do we know if it’s even our own?

Sometimes I wonder where my voice comes from
and where it will go next.
My stomach keeps gurgling like it wants to be my voice.

I don’t think my stomach can handle American Cheese anymore.
It feels loaded with toxic chemicals.
When she asked me if she could change my voice for me,
I was not suspect I was grateful I am tired of this thud.
She got out a large carving knife.
What was she going to cut out

and what would it be replaced with?
Maybe she would somehow ascend
the tired parts of me to the moon

{ X }

Continue reading “The Moon Made Out of Bloated Cheese” – Poetry by Juliet Cook & j/j hastain

“Flu in the Time of Allergies” – Poetry by Juan Parra

The Ninth Plague, Darkness – Gustave Dore, circa 1877

“Flu in the Time of Allergies” is Juan Parra‘s darkly infectious poem from our Fall 2018 issue.

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PLUCK OUR EYEBROWS IN THE DARK.
Stare at the horizon, that place where
Another place is born away from our dark corner

Yield.
Dig furrows and
Lick each other’s knees and elbows in our dark corner

Dance.
Cast voodoo spells on the rotten berries
Love me in our dark corner

Grind the dead skin from the souls of my feet on my shadow.
Incite nightmares to suicide using our umbilical cords
In our dark corner

Sneeze prudently so as not to wake the doves
Sleeping on the homeless dog
And kill the fever with a cold shower in our dark corner

Hold your breath
Transform from flesh to ashes, from ashes to specter.
Play like old people disguised as happy in our dark corner.

The morning that is born
Lame, heels broken, bruised limps
Hush its tears and lure it
To our dark corner.

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JUAN  PARRA is a Cuban-American poet. His work has featured in the Indiana Review, Basalt, The Lake, Pear Drop, Driftwood Press, 4ink7, FLAPPERHOUSE, and REAL.