‘Pur-ga-to-ry’ by Wolfcigs

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pur·ga·to·ry
/ˈpərɡəˌtôrē/
noun
(in Roman Catholic doctrine) a place or state of suffering inhabited by the souls of
sinners who are expiating their sins before going to heaven.

1

i fell on a jagged dagger
when i was nineteen years old, and i learned the meaning of discomfort.
the meaning of
a limbo like the feeling of a 7/11 at 2 in the morning on a school night.
a limbo like the feeling of a hospital lobby with your mom on the phone.

limbo is a psychiatric ward.
i fell on a jagged dagger
when i was nineteen, and medication forced in my mouth
fucked my throat and fucked my mind
like your favorite hentai girl, clad in scrubs and bloody bandages
drooling in agony and begging for forgiveness
on my knees like a slut for your affection.
i held you in the visitors room and
you didn’t hold me back.

eagles nested outside my hospital room window
my wrists hurt
i wanna go home

2

fuck yeah, i’m a badass.
i’m your token legally homeless friend
and you can see my bones through the wound in my knee.
love me, please, i am mangled.
i am ripped apart inside and out, see,
my lungs are full of fluid and my limbs are full of gravel
and my skateboard dug my grave.

i clung to my last bloody strands of girlhood in the convenience store,
buying flamin’ hot cheetos for dinner on crutches.
i threw up on the sidewalk.

the woman down the hall told me she had an STD
then asked if i wanted to fuck.
the woman downstairs told me i’d surely burn in hell.
she flipped a table at me,
and i thought i’d like to say to her
i think i’m already there.

i thought that hell was a group home for disabled adults in minneapolis
as i gripped my disintegrating youth
it faded quicker than the hair dye that clung to my fingers.

i hear the footsteps in the hallway again
i wonder when my dad will bring my wii from the storage unit
i hope he has my gamecube controller
i wanna feel like a teenager again
i wanna feel like a teenager again
i wanna feel like a teenager again
i wanna feel like a teenager again
i wanna go home i wanna go home i wanna go home

3

hell is a dirty homeless shelter in minneapolis.

i’m god’s onahole,
but i’m satan’s favorite fallen angel,
and he tells me my hair is so pretty when im throwing up on the streets.
he says my eyes are so blue when i can’t breathe
and that he wants to take me out to dinner tonight.
i give in.

i wear the skin of it.
i wear the skin of a confident woman and i’ll shove you out of my way.
i’ll say no when you touch me

and i won’t cry
won’t cry
i won’t cry
i’m not gonna cry
because i’ve got skin thicker than your cock
and i’ll sic the devil on you
because he likes me.

fuck

the sense of “home” was
scraped from my body with a fork
and i puked it in the shelter’s bathroom with satan holding my hair back.
“home” is a nonsense word
home is aljhglkadjfslhakdjh;dfhdfg
jdfskgdfkjhgjfk
hkdjfhsjfgljhj
i wanna be a kid again
i wanna be loved
a pop tart shouldn’t be dinner.
a cot next to an open window in winter shouldn’t be a bed.

i used to be
something great i used to be an angel, you know
i used to lay in God’s lap and he’d stroke my head and
i’d breathe easy
my spine didn’t ache with the weight of my wings
i used to be something great

but i am girl-turned-demon
i am girl-turned-your worst fucking nightmare
as i tune out the sounds of death
and block out the drugged up threats
“how’d you get so brave, little girl?”

i am girl-turned-broken-dog.
i’d bite the hand that feeds
if anyone bothered to feed me at all.

i’d bite the hand that feeds
if anyone bothered to feed me at all.


Wolfcigs is 22 years old, female, and goes by many names, take your pick between Frances, Nadia, and Yohane. She doesn’t mind. Wolfcigs has lived all over the place, but calls Minneapolis, Minnesota her home. She has been creating art ever since she can remember, and specializes in angry animals and anime girls covered in blood. Wolfcigs is most active on twitter (https://twitter.com/wolfcigs), on which you can expect a fair mix of artwork, cat pics, fanfiction, and J-pop idols.

‘Moon lighting the landscape’ by Rebekah Morgan

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Moonlighting the landscape I saw a prince purple dunk tank like you’d find on some backwoods county fair main drag flipped sideways and I passed right on by it. I saw a billboard that had that one Romans quote plastered across it that said “The wages of sin is death” but for some reason at first glance I thought it read “the wages of sin is romance”. I saw ravens and dead possums and yellow painted houses and signs advertising wrestling matches written in sharpie on the side of the road. Fancy log cabins and gutted out jack-o’-lanterns that were starting to cave-in on themselves plopped hard on front porches. I was heading on down 321 and a Celtic looking cross made of sheet metal appeared with black spray painted letters spelling out “Alfredo”. I saw two white cows on the hillside but they were actually just small brambley trees. Rock outcroppings jutting out the mountainsides providing cover to round bales and ranch style houses and there were always more cows to peep curbside. I wondered who the heroes are of this high country as I passed a post-harvest cornfield The song playing on the radio sang about corn liquor and banjos and fiddles and harmonicas screamed at me coming around a big bend. I spent time looking at mud splattered bulldozers that passed me flooded by the sun. This landscape seems premeditated like it’s some sort of crime. There are cans of monster energy growing straight out the floorboards like some kind of weeds and I’m still thirsty. I crossed the bridge shielding me from the Watauga River and I’m reminded that I’m blowing my horn in god’s country now as I pass a truck covered in Jesus stickers and I see a scarecrow praying for forgiveness outside of the rusted out trailer perched on a hillside. Big boulders have rolled down into the middle of this river and there’s no evidence of a waterfall yet but I did spy evidence of magic as there was a black horse on the hillside with one white leg. Laurel creek falls is on the north eastern border of the Pisgah National Forest in an area called Sugar Grove where the Watauga River runs and Laurel Creek feeds right into it. I parked on a gravel patch and started down towards the river basin to find my sweetie some river glass and immediately busted my ass on a large boulder. Hands in my pockets still and everything. My ass went thump and I hit my arm real hard. couldn’t tell if I was hurt and a few minutes later I could see the blood through my camp fleece. I’m just glad I didn’t hit my funny bone again. I hobelled along riverside across more boulders slick with silt and thought about how it would be a whole lot easier to pretend I was far away from any sort of human existence if it weren’t for the 2 L bottles of Mountain Dew strewn around the shoreline. I crept on down to the waterline and found a handful of milky white and green river glass mixed in with the sand and the river trash between the rocks. I put all that smooth river glass in my front pocket so they could get mixed up with all the quarters I’d gotten the day before while doing laundry. I continued down the bank and found a golf ball wedged under a rock and under that golf ball there was a clamshell split wide open like a book. I threw the golf ball through the air into the rapids. I’m never gonna see that golf ball again. This river is the color of mushed up sweet peas straight out the can and you can see proof of recent flooding. There are weavings of grass held high in the branches of waterlogged trees. I climbed my way back towards the car up a twenty five foot bank and headed on back to town. The people out here in Sugar Grove are selling all kinds of stuff roadside. Wormy chestnut lumber and antiques out of there trailers, I’m hoping to stop somewhere to find something real or at least something good.

Rebekah Morgan is a writer living in Appalachia. His work has been featured in New York Tyrant, Hobart, Witchcraft, X-Ray Lit, and other publications. He is the author of two poetry collections, “Hotel Alexander” and “Blood Burger Parade”.

‘Duality’ and ‘Non-Duality’ by Dawid Juraszek & Gao Yawen

Bijou Zhou - At the Edge
art by Bijou Zhou

Duality

 
[When] you close your eyes
it’s also a world.

. . . pulse quickening
surrounded by
beings in colour
or in grayscale
you replay reality
tie up loose ends
entertain counter[factuals]

. . . heart rate
luxuriantly spaced out
you want to focus
on your breath . . .

. . . disperse and listen
to what arises
and falls away again.

Mindful of less . . .

Non-duality

When you open your eyes
it’s like you’re back
in the default world
to source your [patterns – ?]
and
your raw material
to replenish and restock
while already thinking . . .

. . . renewed refuge
underneath your eyelids.

Relying
on the barrier of the body
to shield you
from the outside
only strengthens its primacy.
Try again with your eyes o[pen]

Dawid Juraszek is a bilingual author based in China. His fiction, non-fiction, and poetry have appeared in The Remembered Arts Journal, Amethyst Review, The Esthetic Apostle, Soft Cartel, Amaryllis, The Font, and elsewhere. https://amazon.com/author/dawidjuraszek

orn on the Tibetan Plateau and educated near the birthplace of Mao Zedong, Gao Yawen now lives in the Pearl River Delta.

Bijou Zhou grew up in China’s Hunan province. Having first learned painting from a local artist, she went on to receive a degree in Fine Arts, before moving to the USA to study English. She now lives in Changsha, China. Her artwork has appeared in Mused Literary Review, Artis Natura, and on the cover of The Cabinet of Heed.

‘Kids’ by Lily Wang

Kids

1.

E and L were in the bathroom putting on eyeliner and I was asleep on the couch. I was trying to sleep. My birthday happened in the middle of the day. I was walking or in the back of a car. They wanted to look nice. L gave me her hoodie. I put my hands in the pockets and there was some stuff in there. I kept my mouth shut.

We took the streetcar. The girls shared vodka straight from the bottle. They offered me some and I said why would I want that it smells awful. L said yeah but it makes you feel good. I didn’t think anything could. The street was loud and none of the girls wore coats. L took my hand and E led the way. Somebody pushed me. I was scared but mad too. I said who pushed me. I said who and L pulled me into the crowd. I didn’t like letting things go. I’d have died in a grocery store brawl. It was my birthday. It wasn’t my birthday but I told people it was because it always was. We went from one loud place to another and it was fine by me because I didn’t have to talk.

E stopped talking to me because I did our entire project but I couldn’t get a 90. Before we graduated she asked me to pass the stapler so I think we’re cool. I gave L her hoodie back and she put her hands in the pockets. I looked away so she didn’t have to say anything.

2.

my favourite memory of A: she’s on the side of the road prying at her dog’s mouth. it ate something it shouldn’t have. a car pulled over and the window rolled down. her dog could have died. the driver threatened to call the cops. A walked up to the window and said fuck. fuck fuck fuck. fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck. I wish I’d been there.

3.
We’re cool? Yeah we’re cool. Good I was worried you were mad at me. No we’re cool. Cool.

Lily Wang writes from Toronto. She edits Half a Grapefruit Magazine. Read her at Peach Mag, Bad Nudes, Cosmonauts Avenue, and more. @liliecup

‘3 Poems’ by Stephanie Bradbury

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Intervals

Every four years
I’m faithfully unfaithful.
I won’t give up giving up.

When February forgets
to leave and steps cold feet
into the sun,

I dig through our artifacts,
declare them all
fan-fiction.

Every four years
I leap.

Long Distance

world clock
returns the time
it bought,
damaged and in
a different box-
a parting gift
that thought
it was the prize.

Pills

a pill to wake,
a pill to sleep,
a pill to correct
each side effect…

Stephanie Bradbury lives in north Georgia and works as an emergency room nurse. Her poetry and short stories have appeared in numerous journals and literary magazines, including Ink in Thirds, The Rusty Nail, Mad Swirl, and Third Wednesday.