Untitled #4

I have been known / to listen to a single song / for weeks on end. / Like the fear of forgetting / the last bedroom you had / in your parents house / or burning your tongue / on morning coffee. / The days you take down / two mugs and then remember / he doesn’t come down the stairs / anymore.

Litter

Like litter,

these people fall into their lives.

Now wind pushes them into a natural crust

along this pavement,

now rain moulds them into an arc

across that road.

Like litter, they are unconscious.

Such absence creates contrast

with the most present questions;

why they’re here,

where they’re going,

time sits at the next table,

unseen by the blind,

maybe smoking a cigarette,

dressed as a reaper.

“Let them be maddened

by their enemies,” it says,

“see them amongst themselves

for never being able

to dislodge them from their hearts,

let them fight for easy titles,

the saddest, the maddest,

when I know that suffering

isn’t rare in any world.”

When company and money desert you

and even your body and mind

say their goodbyes,

how do you know you’re still alive

and can say, “I…”?

If you remember a time when you said,

“that is wrong, too far,”

or saw one face in the throng, thinking,

love, love, love is here,

from and to the dark.

— By Setareh Ebrahimi

Naître

You must have left your skin in my bed,

a layer of cells to replace the sheets.

Or did I imagine you here—

hands coaching, coaxing,

hoaxing, scorching?

No, that was your work,

and now I’ll slip into your suit

(my cocoon),

waiting to be reborn

looking like you—

so you might love yourself more.

— By Caitlin Johnson

Naître

You must have left your skin in my bed,

a layer of cells to replace the sheets.

Or did I imagine you here—

hands coaching, coaxing,

hoaxing, scorching?

No, that was your work,

and now I’ll slip into your suit

(my cocoon),

waiting to be reborn

looking like you—

so you might love yourself more.

— By Caitlin Johnson

Mother,

your sadness is palpable,
it’s heavy and tired and i can feel it
as you shuffle around the house, searching for a job
in a field you didn’t choose but that your husband deems 
good enough while
he drinks bottles of scotch
and complains that your daughter is settling for jobs that aren’t
good enough and
would you stop putting so much damn salt
on the fish and fuck it i’ll just eat more bread this dinner isn’t
good enough,
a phrase you’ve now
internalized.

mother,
your sadness is aromatic,
and i wish it wasn’t because it smells like blood
and i make excuses to go into your bathroom
to brush my teeth
so i can search for red stains on your bath towels
and find you crying in bed
like that time i rushed into your room
cause clay was waiting outside to take me to a movie
and aren’t 15-yr-old girls supposed to be the ones
sobbing in their bed, dragging razors to their forearms,
watching red stains grow on thin white sheets
because no one will listen to them
and

mother,
your sadness is infuriating,
blaming your husband
for not letting you invest in dreams you have
of owning a farm and selling those
strange worms that you whisper to
while they digest my apple peels,
blaming the government for the lack of jobs
and how they outsourced a job
you hated anyways,
blaming everyone else because you’re too scared of change
to live your dreams and you’re too scared of failure
to take a change and you’re too scared of everything
and


mother,
i finally get you out of the house and we get coffee
and i try to tell you about things i’m excited about and
maybe 24 will be my best year yet and
i’m starting a magazine and
don’t tell dad he would just deem it not
good enough but your eyes kind of stare off
into a steam rising from the parking lot
because thank God texas is finally getting some rain
and you ask me
if I know what tiny houses are,
because dad made you throw away the strange worms
and no one else will listen
and yes

mother,
buying some land and living in a tiny house with your worms
does sound like a dream.

— By Kelly Dugan of Peach Fuzz

girl, boy

you are a girl. you are a girl

you are a girl you are a girl you are a girl am

i am i no, heavens no

girls are pretty beautiful

pristine clean

not me not me

they call me cara they call me abagail they call me burch

you are a girl you are female you are

STOP ACTING THIS WAY

challenging a binary, the ultimate act of violence.

you were growing you were friendless

i am bulgy i am gross no one will

ever have you

you are a girl,

oh how i got so restless.

you were older i am older

i am thinner so close to being

another pretty girl, catching boys

and butterflies and husbands and babies…

I just might be here.

look what i’ve found! some one

to take me on to have

me “i need you, i need you,

oh baby, oh baby…”

please put your hand up

my skirt give me your hard

dick make me another

PRETTY GIRL

DAMN you get it in FIX ME

FIX me i pleaded with him

with them, there were many

GET IT IN!

when i realize i don’t want it in, take it

out get OFF me i became alarmed…

no, no, nononoNO take it out

take it out

"no, we will not take it out we will

make you a pretty girl

just as you asked as you

begged you WANTED it,

you needed us oh baby”

no no nO NO STOP.

some people like babies more than i do.

how am i supposed to want them when

some people won’t stop?

"you are a girl."

no, i’m not.

i am a biologically she

intrinsically he.

i am a boy.

— By Max Duvall  

In the Dark

 For my mother 

Years before a single pube would sprout,

two boys, her cousins, overcame her.

It was in her mother’s house. It was in

the room she shared with her sisters.

Her sisters were there in their beds

asleep (allegedly) when it happened.

This is how it happened, I think.

One boy slid off her covers, slid her

down off her pillow by her ankles

as the other boy climbed into her mouth

gagging her with his weedy peen, grunting

maybe, and the one sliding off all her armor

slipped his shiny garden hose into her bud

where he pumped and pumped for half an hour

and never heard her cry, and when they finished,

when they were all leaked out and sweaty,

they laughed, zipped up, and maybe high-fived.

They left her in the dark, not even the moon’s

light to cast a shadow on her bed. They left her

in the dark, and that is where she stayed.

— By Nancy Lili Gonzalez

Alive

The sweltering heat slowly

pervaded my body

as I moved between darting white shirts

and clacking heels

that were cramped to narrow paths

paved between tall, monstrous buildings

I parted my lips

to harmless conversations

as the sun intensified me with spurious zeal

Peals of laughter escaped my throat

with a delightful flavour

left lingering in my mouth

that fills me with thrill

but fades faster than chewing gum.

I guess the hardest part

is to keep my fervor towards the outside world

consistent

for so often I just want to recede

and let myself drown in that familiar sense of apathy

and that bone deep desire

to be fed with pages and pages of wisdom

and sentiments from former lives

amidst my quiet bedroom walls

I wonder why is it there 

I feel so much more alive?

— By Vicki Wong

Porcelain

I am not teacup pretty.
Shoulders made of porcelain
handle ribs
that you wrap fingers around,
pinky out.

I am not decorated with baby roses
floral patina
iced pirouette
or ribbons.

Do not drop sugar cubes
into the hollows of my skin
or mix milk into my bathwater.
Keep your silver spoon away.

I am not fragile.
Do not put me in your China cabinet
and only bring me out
on birthdays
and Christmas morning.

I am a hailstorm
that catches you by surprise
on your walk home from school
and shatters your windshield.

I am a car crash at 2 AM
on a forgotten country road.

I am blood.

I am the orange of corn
picked, shucked and dried
by calloused Indian hands
in a village carved into a cliff side.

I am a blackout in New York City.

I am the hunger of creation.

I am the smell of gasoline and honey
and the color of a heartbeat.

I am the weight of a cement sidewalk
poured fresh in the morning
that gathers more footprints, initials
lopsided hearts
every hour.

I am the mist hovering over the ocean.

I am an affirmation.

I am not
teacup pretty.

— By Channing Kaiser

Heat

electrons are catapulting in your eyes
charged and painful.
you are radioactive, a threat
of burning skin and seared threads
heat and flame;
even across the room i am drawn to you
like the gift of death. 
there are static attacks
where my fingers press into your sides
in the nearness of you 
i will corrode. 

— By Caitlin Hair

Off My Chest

Tits. Boobs. Rack. Jugs.

Hooters. Does anyone else see

the problem with devoting so much

attention, effort, over-

glorification to our mammary

glands? We even have a chain

of restaurants glorifying

our teats. And the more engorged

they appear, the better. But let us

use them for their intended purpose

and the public turns it’s

hydra-head in disgust. Are You

Mom Enough? Collective gasp. How dare

that woman nurse her three-year-old.

That’s what formula is for.

And bovine intervention.

To which I say: suck me.

—By April Salzano

The Game

"do you want someone to sigh

at the way the sun rays set your eyes aglow,

unabashed admiration?

is that even real? do you really know?”

but the stain between his front teeth,

permanent, like his naivety,

disturbed my thoughts like an interrupting child,

his one flaw visible, holding its own gravity.

lips pursed, his smoke inseminates the air

"you’ve a severe elegance to you" he said

mercurial smile hiding my haughty hurts

all as my fragile vanity bled

a lemony sky laps at my wounds.

it’s my turn, but we’d stopped keeping score.

always thought i wasn’t good enough,

but it was he who was the bore.

his platitudes  - mere cosmic ejaculate,

his ideals die in the face of practicality,

while i wear my jaded effects with pride,

i sustain some tentative ties with reality.

crossing his “faith” with my “strength”

with night swooping in, i laid down my word.

98 points but it held no weight,

a reminder of affections deferred.

bed creaking as his body collapses

for all the weight his indifference did spawn

esteem leaking as i make the finally tally,

"doesn’t matter", he said, but i had won.

—By Alaska Jones

The Ink That Never Dries

It would really do me good if I can keep myself from 

writing about you

—the sooner, the better.

Cause if I don’t stop, you’re going to find out 

that I—

will drop everything, 

and anything 

off my lap 

just to stand up and start running right next to you.

All the cells in my body are 

asking me to kick my stupid ball of doubt and slide down over this 

pile of messy despair—

to get to wherever you are.

Every thought that bubbles up from 

my rib cage 

bursts and lands on this perfectly white blank page

—rearranging itself and 

spelling out your [name].

You see, 

I don’t want you 

to know that this is my constant state. 

I’m afraid that every word I put in print, 

will somehow make you see me and stare my way. 

Then I would run out of 

things 

pretend 

do.

Because all I’m ever made of is meant to write about you. 

Even if I type the coldest letters,

—fuck this shit—

it wouldn’t matter. 

You are the weight that goes with this bold font. 

If you were italicized, would you lean onto me? 

You are the ink that never dries, underlining the meaning in my life. 

—By AJ Cadavedo 

In My Garden

In my garden I walked, the morning sun on my face and the flowers embracing me their perfume.

On a bush, I found a young flower blossoming, it’s beauty and fragrance gave me pause.

With scissors, I clipped its stem, and in water it was placed: to keep - always.

But not always will flowers keep- sitting in water. For cut stems will not drink forever.

A new cut must I make. So with scissors I clipped; and from my life she fell.

In fresh soil the flower will root, and its fragrance and beauty will blossom anew.

Then one day, its perfume will call to another – her petals she’ll reveal, and his face she’ll kiss.

And in the morning air, will I continue my walks.

In my garden, I will remember her

—By Fuiva