Tag Archives: Spring 2015 (#5)

“Folie á Deux” – Poetry by Kailey Tedesco

Kneeling breast feeding mother - Paula Modersohn-Becker, circa 1900
Kneeling breast feeding mother – Paula Modersohn-Becker, circa 1900

“Folie á Deux” is one of two  wonderfully surreal poems by Kailey Tedesco featured in our Spring 2015 issue.

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A MAUVE FILM COVERS EVERYTHING save the sun’s fingers. Only the sound of water in drainpipes and Maggie and Mike laughing at the black air of the television.

“Good Morning, America” shouts a woman with an exposed breast nursing a child – or is it a pig? The audience applauds. She nurses long after the child has grown and the milk has grown black, crying to the cadence of the laugh-track. Beetles swarm a piece of cotton-candy, a remainder of the child’s youth. They crawl through it like vermin in the brain. Ooos and Aahs echo as a man of melting wax goes shoe shopping. The yellow residue molds into the insoles. He lights his wick and offers this epitaph: “Only those who die, die young.” At last, the bearded lady sings and the show is over. She cackles for six hours of credits, pulling hair strand by strand.

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Headshot UpdateKAILEY TEDESCO is currently enrolled in Arcadia University’s MFA in Poetry program. She edits for Lehigh Valley Vanguard and Marathon Literary Magazine, while also teaching eighth grade English. A long-time flapper at heart, Kailey enjoys hanging out  in speakeasies, cemeteries, and abandoned amusement parks for all of her poetic inspiration. She is a resident poet of the aforementioned LVV, and her work has been featured in Boston Poetry Magazine and Jersey Devil Press


“[some mornings I wake to feel as if I have lattice wings” – Poetry by Sally J. Johnson

Butterfly - Yayoi Kusama, 1988
Butterfly – Yayoi Kusama, 1988

“[some mornings I wake to feel as if I have lattice wings” is one of two very flappy poems by Sally J. Johnson from our Spring 2015 issue.

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covering my mouth but come
to discover it is just the breath
of a lover pressed
tightly to my lips][a hand
stuck in a honey pot][some
mornings I find I have no feeling
in my legs because they’ve been pinned]
[put on display] [an emerald
encrusted beetle][but other days
I am swayed like a swallowtail
moth on a branch or moss
on bark][pulled through sleep
into stirring by skin on skin][kisses
that cover me completely
but do not bury me][the way

we allow ourselves to lie
down next to another
person capable of cruelty
is not a miracle][but it is
close to that][remember this
when in awe of a swath of butterflies
migrating over mountains][whole
generations][remember it
when the moon makes you gasp]

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SallyJSALLY J. JOHNSON received her MFA from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington where she served as Managing Editor for the award-winning literary journal Ecotone. Her poetry and nonfiction have appeared or are forthcoming in the CollagistBodega, the Pinch, Weave, So to Speak, Everyday Genius and elsewhere. She is a poetry editor for Green Briar Review and works as a publicist in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Find her online: @sallyjayjohnson.

“Inside my heart the river is nightmarish warm” – Fiction by Robin Wyatt Dunn

Waiting For Dawn - Hugo Simberg, 1895
Waiting For Dawn – Hugo Simberg, 1895

 “Inside my heart the river is nightmarish warm” is Robin Wyatt Dunn‘s surreally apocalyptic vignette from our Spring 2015 issue.

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I HAVE NOT BEEN MANY PLACES, BUT WHERE I HAVE BEEN IS A SHADOW. The killings, but more importantly, their source, is close now to me still.

Perhaps the source does not matter. There are many such events; rarely are our curiosities satisfied.

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She was pounding on the door. Making a sound like rain, out of her mouth. A soothing sound from her mouth, but from her hands it was simply BANG BANG BANG.

“What is it Angel?” I asked. And I opened the door.

I opened the door, though I suppose it had already been open for some time, on what was to come; what had arrived in us.

She had not washed and was covered in some kind of liquid, I found later that it had been washing detergent. Her hair was sticky with it and she thrust her knife hand through the gap in the door before it was even properly open, grazing my stomach. I jerked back in surprise and felt the adrenaline rush into my body.


I saw her then and what scared me was not her appearance but my reaction: I expected this.

Her mouth opened again and the rainwater sound came out. This part does sound crazy, though why a simple sound should be the craziest part of a story I don’t know. But that’s the sound that she made; like droplets hitting a wet sidewalk. Like someone had jammed a small stereo speaker into her throat and it was transmitting soothing nature sounds, like beach waves to help you sleep.

I hit her over the head with an empty beer bottle from my desk and it stunned her; her knife hand loosened. I did it again and she was down, and that was when I heard the others outside.

Continue reading “Inside my heart the river is nightmarish warm” – Fiction by Robin Wyatt Dunn

“1930’s Butches Referred to Themselves as Stallions” – Lyric Essay by j/j hastain

Lesbian Bar in Paris - George Brassaï, 1930's
Lesbian Bar in Paris – George Brassaï, 1930’s

“1930’s Butches Referred to Themselves as Stallions” is one of four mini lyric essays by the inimitable j/j hastain in our Spring 2015 issue.

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HAVING SPENT QUALITY TIME WITH HER IN MY IMAGINATION long before ever being found by and finding her in human form, there were times when imagining her while she was right here with me made me more wholly able to comprehend her in her wholeness: her as a wholeness.

One version: swagger in the slightly tilted fedora (so much like the hat my father wore during that Church play in which he sang that solo as the masculine figurehead in the story: “Thirty days to make a brick, make it hard enough to stick”), suspenders up over the cream colored and slightly-wrinkled-but-still-tucked-in (like any gentleman would do) shirt, the gorgeous polished shoes tied with equal loops on each side, the shape of her hand around the shot glass from which she was going to gulp bourbon.

Another version: a painting (with brush strokes that stand out from (rather than blend in with) the shapes of the painting) of a single horse made out of two horses (fused at an imprecise but precious slant, not evenly or equally down a middle): the front half, a male and the back half a mare. Though the painting is a still life, due to the protruding strokes of its composition it is anything but still.

Another version: a slightly masculine-presenting women’s woman (“that’s womyn with a “y” thank you very much”) driving a Chevy Nova through Denver. Having just returned from writing a love poem to an invisible woman on her Macintosh 128K, REO Speedwagon is pouring loudly out the one operable window in the front of the car. With a Big Gulp in the cup holder (a cup holder that latches manually to the window and is not built into the frame of the car), her arms are outstretched, moving up and down (accentuating the low-key shoulder pads in her coat) ever so slightly to the rhythm of the song. What no one can see (as they stare at her through the window (her mullet is not much different than peering heterosexual folks’ mullets)) is that below the steering wheel (which she is not currently using to drive, since both of her hands are in the air) her fly is open. I have a feeling that I, more than anyone else, know what’s writhing and wriggling within that open fly, trying to get out, trying to get into me.

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Bio Next2j/j hastain is a collaborator, writer and maker of things. j/j performs ceremonial gore. Chasing and courting the animate and potentially enlivening decay that exists between seer and singer, j/j simply hopes to make the god/dess of stone moan and nod deeply through the waxing and waning seasons of the moon.

j/j hastain is the inventor of The Mystical Sentence Projects and is author of several cross-genre books including the trans-genre book libertine monk (Scrambler Press), The Non-Novels (forthcoming, Spuyten Duyvil) and The Xyr Trilogy: a Metaphysical Romance of Experimental Realisms. j/j’s writing has most recently appeared in CaketrainTrickhouse, The Collagist, Housefire, Bombay GinAufgabe, and Tarpaulin Sky.

“Undergrowth” – Fiction by Ian Kappos

A Rushing Sea of Undergrowth - Emily Carr, 1935
A Rushing Sea of Undergrowth – Emily Carr, 1935

“Undergrowth,” from our Spring 2015 issue, is Ian Kappos‘ coming-of-age tale about loss, mysterious moss, and The Great Beast.

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WE CROWNED THE LEVEE, crossed the railroad tracks, and descended toward the river. The air was crisp and wet. Not like the city.

“This one is old,” Lyle told me, pointing through the murk at a tree that craned over the river. “I looked it up online.”

It was 1999, the last year that it would be cool for fourteen-year-old boys to listen to boy bands. Neither Lyle nor I was cool, but we grasped for a point of reference as earnestly as anybody our age.

“And check this out,” he went on, and led us scrambling through the underbrush. There was a full moon lazing above us, so we could see beyond the tangle of branches the river shining ripples of silver. Frogs croaked, mosquitoes buzzed. It was summer and we both wore denim shorts and polo shirts.

“See?” Lyle said. He pointed again. “Just around this bend.”

I tripped over a rock but found my footing in the suction of damp earth bordering the river. The water played at my shoes. Then I saw it: A bright green moss, or something like it, hugged a branch. It seemed to pulsate, going from a dull olive color to a sharp lime that made me squint.

Lyle then said something very fast that I didn’t catch, but he sounded excited.

I asked, “What is it?”

Little wormy things were fawning from it, dancing in different directions. They stretched and retracted, though there was no breeze.

Continue reading “Undergrowth” – Fiction by Ian Kappos

“What If I Can’t Make Myself Wake Up?” – Poetry by Juliet Cook

Ghost of a Flea - William Blake, 1820
Ghost of a Flea – William Blake, 1820

Juliet Cook‘s poem “What If I Can’t Make Myself Wake Up?” is a lucid nightmare from the depths of our Spring 2015 issue.

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  1. MY GRANDPA CALLED ME. I didn’t hear anyone on the phone at first, but part of me knew it was him, even though he never calls me. The he started to speak in a soft and powerless voice, telling me that he was dying.
  1. My ex-husband and I got together. We seemed to be getting along well, feeling good about each other, and having fun. We started kissing. Almost as soon as I lay down on his bed, he turned exceedingly strong and purposely overpowered me. Holding me down, he whispered into my ear that he was going to crush me, make me bleed inside, slowly but surely kill me.
  1. Almost immediately after orgasm, I started itching all over the place, like my insides had been invaded by a huge batch of fleas. A whole load shot out of another sticky scumbag.
  1. I felt like I was jerking around and screaming, “oh my god oh my god oh my god!”. I was trying to scream out loud, but it was barely emerging as a tiny hiss. I was trying to scream loud enough so that someone else could hear me and help me wake up. At some point my brain realized that I was all by myself. There is nobody here to help me.
  1. I finally managed to climb myself out of bed, even though I still felt uncertain about whether or not I was really awake. The insides of my body were making weird little clicking sounds. From the inside, I heard something dripping down the walls.

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IMG_1359 - Copy (2)JULIET COOK‘s poetry has appeared in many literary publications, including Arsenic LobsterDiode, ILK, and Menacing Hedge.  She is the author of more than thirteen chapbooks, including POISONOUS BEAUTYSKULL LOLLIPOP (Grey Book Press, 2013), RED DEMOLITION (Shirt Pocket Press, 2014), a collaborative chapbook with Robert Cole, MUTANT NEURON CODEX SWARM (Hyacinth Girl Press, 2015) and a collaborative chapbook with j/j hastain, Dive Back Down (Dancing Girl Press in 2015). Find out more at www.JulietCook.weebly.com.

“The Rockland Chateau” – Prose Poetry by Ariel Dawn

Chateau Noir - Paul Cezanne, circa 1904
Chateau Noir – Paul Cezanne, circa 1904

An eerie kind of nostalgia haunts “The Rockland Chateau,” Ariel Dawn‘s prose poem from our Spring 2015 issue.

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ALL NIGHT RHYS PACED THE ROOMS I DYED BLUE. He watched cooking and talk shows, smoked a pipe and played guitar: this growing symphony our days fell through. We made love by glass doors where the wind was a hundred ghosts.

In the morning I broke dirty dishes and swore by the window while our baby drummed a rattle to Mother Goose in stereo. Stars, spoons, animals. Thought we’d live for ages there with the mountains and the towering trees.

There was a madwoman below. She held this broom or tangle of roots that pushed our naked feet as we leapt about with gypsies who lived beside the cemetery. She wrote to the landlord, he handed us the letter. We looked guilty in our trench coats. Rather than read her words like evil eyes, we left those blue rooms.

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GetInlineARIEL  DAWN lives in Victoria, British Columbia. Writing is featured or forthcoming in publications such as Ambit, Black & Blue, Paper Swans, minor literature(s), Ink Sweat & Tears, Litro. She spends her time reading Tarot and poetic prose and writing a novella. @ariel__dawn