‘Two Etymology Poems’ by Matt Mitchell

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THE ETYMOLOGY OF MOUTH

(n.)

Old English mup “opening of a gate to a country of teeth sharp enough to gash the moon.” Garden of thorns made from pink cheek exoskeleton; colony of cul-de-sacs at the end of my great aunt’s street; voice whispering jetstreams into the vacant sky; air filled with flecks of dandelion; the color of summer; taste of bare neck in early morning; lips split open in the shape of glaciers from air conditioner horsepower; what undresses my ribs & arranges my birthmarks into constellations; cathedral at the head of a river where I open the earth & sing my love into.

THE ETYMOLOGY OF NEEDLE

(n.)

Pharmaceutical jargon naedl “small, pointed instrument for carrying an ocean of life through the fabric of a body, etc.,” from endocrinologist’s mouth naethlo, literally “an elegy of permanence wrapping around God.” Meaning “piece of magnetized steel in a compass,” or ruptured artery in my thigh after insulin needle splintered through fatty muscle, or my translator for a death waiting behind a whole map of skin tearing.

Matt Mitchell is a writer from Ohio. His first chapbook, you’re my favorite garçon, is forthcoming from Ghost City Press in 2020. Other words he’s written appear right now, or will soon, in places like BARNHOUSE, NPR, Gordon Square Review, Frontier Poetry, and Glass: A Journal of Poetry, among others. He’d love to talk to you about basketball.

‘ Two Poems’ by Tom Snarsky

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In the quiet water of subtidal habitats,

you have enough breathing room to misread
subtidal as suicidal, your brain predicting
what it sees now will be like
what you’ve been googling, low in your cove
of grayblue feeling. All the arts,
all of them, have led us to this ice. You
mix paints for the sea slush
and you’re out of green—you squeeze
the tube and it gives you nothing, the sides
touching through a thin layer
of dried paint, and instead of giving up
you leverage colorblindness as an asset
and mix in red instead, so the little
cove you’re painting starts to look like clay
so rich and malleable you could almost eat it.

Escape Rope

The truck’s mud flaps say STARGATE
& I’ve never felt closer to the earth, to the

Basic conceit of burial—i.e. if you go down
Far enough, if you live enough to have

Friends to bury you, then maybe when you get
Down there, after a little time has passed

The gates will open & there will be
Sandboxes full of stars for you to play with

You can make castles you can tear them down
You can shepherd the toy truck across

The bridge over the moat to safety
Its mud flaps still emblazoned

but faultlessly clean

Tom Snarsky teaches mathematics at Malden High School in Malden, Massachusetts, USA.

‘Three Poems’ by A.H Lewis

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reminders

There is happiness and sadness all around us,
that is the magic of the universe.
Our moods are as fickle as the wind
and absorbent like clouds,

where our emotions throw us
into sunny tumults and skies of starlight.
Inspiration can come from
anywhere if you let it,

if you’re willing to find
the innerness of you
and choose stimulation over hurt
from the reminders of ruined things.

A nostalgic cartoon. A car horn.
A slow song. A made-up memory.
A sad hello. A green smile.
An open heart. A broken heart.

shrinking delight

The heaviness behind my eyes
gathers at the corners if I let it,
but today it stays where it is.
I am as small as a caterpillar
inching along a green stalk
with all dozens of grips
around the silky bridge.
I could bathe in a thimble
and find fullness from spilled crumbs.
No bigger than your thumb
or the buttons on your sweater
when I shrink like this.
It happens too often for my taste,
but down here next to the puddles of dew
there are pussy willows like skyscrapers
and dandelions like forgotten gods.
A butterfly flaps politely overhead.
Being small has nothing to do with my size,
as I sigh. It’s my best kept secret,
tucked under the mushrooms.
I examine my fingernails too little to be seen
and bury them in the ground beneath me.
The dirt smells newer when I’m this close to it,
like I can absorb its nutrients through my palms,
discover the earth’s age just from tiny handfuls.
The heaviness ebbs the filthier I get.
A slug oozing past lures a laugh out of me
that rings through hollow felled trees.
It’s rained recently,
everything is soft and squishing
between my fingers and toes,
wet with friendly remorse, welcoming me
if I choose to stay small forever.
This time, I just might.

the absence of things

Darkness and cold are not actually things,
but the absence of things. Darkness is the absence of light;
cold, of heat. (Scientists, I may have embellished.
Poets, humor the science.)

If something is dark, it is the amount of light
that is missing from a space. One says, “turn on
the light,” not “turn down the dark.” Darkness has
no measurement or unit on this planet.

Coldness is the heat being extracted from
another source. When you are cold, you are losing
your heat rather than gaining coldness.
Temperatures reflect heat and lack thereof.

So when you feel like darkness is too much or you
feel too cold, remind yourself that what you should say,
instead, is that you need more light and more warmth.
In fact, most times a single object produces these two things.

The scientist may be thinking of the sun.
The poet may be thinking of a person.
A poetic scientist, or a scientific poet,
knows they are the same.

A.H. Lewis is a 26-year-old poet from Pittsburgh, PA, with an English degree from Allegheny College and a Disney addiction cultivated since birth. Her first collection of poetry, The Smallness of Everything Else, is forthcoming from Dorrance Publishing in spring 2019, along with other pieces published in various publications and social media accounts. For Lewis, there is no weather too warm, no blanket too soft, and no bowl of gnocchi too big. You can follow her on twitter: @ahlewww and IG: @ahlewww

‘planet of the’ by Paul Hanson Clark

S

kanye tweeted, they want to control us with money and mute the culture
i keep looking at presidential race info
democrats are war mongers too
being anti is doomed
i watched part of a movie about saddam hussein
thinking about john lewis not speaking at occupy atlanta
cuz of some guy trying to make a point
how one voice shouldn’t be more important
which, maybe?, but all that happened was
refusal of john lewis’s request to speak
when it seemed like most people there wanted to listen
for years i was lost in a fool’s gold desert, an oasis of acid trip epiphanies
i didn’t become god i became a dude w a more fucked up brain
i used to look at amber rose on insta
videos of her shaking her ass, sure, but also the story of her life
her son, her travels, her thoughts, her ideas
i have a positive opinion of her
& a conflicting feeling that celebrity gossip is a fucking scam
i tweeted, it’s good to always have yr house kim & kanye ready
tiff faved but we don’t follow each other anymore
she came at me for retweeting austin & i was confused
didn’t realize she had a problem with him
& had i known, i wouldn’t have retweeted him in the first place
we had a weird contentious back and forth
will probably never speak again
even though it was fun that time
walking around nyc
fucked up on drugs
me and rachel split from the group
wandered into a bumpin’ pizzeria at 2 a.m.
she bought me a slice and i was so happy
when you look at the most successful movies of all-time
it’s like “transformers 3, avengers 2, spider-man 4”
jfk got iced by oswald but also it was a vast conspiracy to destroy the world
the military industrial complex won despite general eisenhower’s stern warning
pete seeger is dead & his grandson is a fortysomething cokehead
i guess i shouldn’t folk music gossip either
dear mom, dad, & everyone i know
why did we love television more than each other?
i remember super mario on snes, working together
to figure it out, having chill times
but those ended
& order of operations became
i in basement on my tv
dad in living room on his
mom in bedroom on hers
everyone everywhere always on their screen
like they say, “any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic”
this is life in marvelous times
only time i ever heard that song come on at the bar
was mulligans this spot in boise idaho
i rapped along & a girl named virginia made fun
asked, why are you rapping about bed stuy 82
9th floor three tiny rooms one view
if you were born and raised in nebraska?
i smiled, or laughed, i don’t remember
i wanted to make out but she left
she texted kyle later asking for my number
but he didn’t give a fuck
was too busy partying on that ego sailboat
but yeah, we live in a super computer
i’m trying to escape from it right now but it’s cutting the shit out of my neck

paul hanson clark is a poet and multi-disciplinary artist living in lincoln, nebraska.

‘Les petites heures’ by Brad Liening

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One last figure
flees to the beach
the moon a glossy
white tomato
full of seeds
the collective dream
of bats flapping
into anvil-shaped
heavens blowing
through some eternal
afternoon en route
to one last sunset
one last nest
of presidents
digging into deaf hills
we espy from this
corridor of antlers

Brad Liening is the author of Deep State Come Shining (Publication Studio Hudson, Spring 2020). He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

‘Sadist Poems’ by J.T Edwards

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You Sweet Maiden

Girl you sing like flesh in a buzzsaw
I love the way you die
I wanna rot with you in a pale sky
Swallow my rancid semen baby
Let me inject you with my barbed wire sorrow
It’s a plague carnival of puppets
Honey don’t you cry
I’ll give you an ocean of morphine
And we’ll carve out each others eyes
Livin’ like dreams forever
Together we will FUCKIN’ FLY

Weeping Neon Skies

The cold dance of green flies
Swarming around a fresh suicide
Twitching beneath the serpents kiss
Sucking hard on bloodless fingers
She crouched down screamin’ and dreamin’
Pounding dead flesh in the kudzu vines
Fuck! It feels like chopping up dead babies
In a coffin full of dope and cockroaches
Tripping on blue sunbeams and eatin’ dead birds
Till mother comes bleeding from the fields
Bathed in gasoline screams in a techno whisper
KILL KILL KILL
CUT AND FUCK
Suck the universe through a straw
Till the stars come crashing down

Baby, why do you amputate my dreams?
I KNOW
I KNOW
I’m just cryin’ to be cryin’
Don’t you EVER let me stop dyin’

J.T. Edwards is a misanthropic hilljack hailing from Southern Appalachia. He’s had poetry published in Spectral Realms. You can find him on twitter @JT2688

‘Two Poems’ by Tyler Dempsey

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Distance

Mexico.

Pico de Orizaba

country high point

17,800 feet

girlfriend vomited blood

Pad Thai.

The other

on rope hacked phlegm with

blood in it.

So reluctantly I turned around.

People asked

where we’d been.

Said Orizaba. They go, “Muy frío!”

In the States,

I say, I’m from Alaska,

people immediately cross their arms, grabbing bicep with opposing
hand,

“Eww, cold.”

Understanding

what’s wrong

with me.

The Hippie

We collide.

ropes connect dogs to folds

of clothing.

Licking greasy wrappers.

In a hurry, his head’s

bleeding,

and he can’t light his joint right.

“You’re hurt?”

“It’s rad.”

Tyler Dempsey won the 2nd Annual The Tulsa Voice/Nimrod International Journal Flash Fiction Contest and received honorable mention in Glimmer Train and New Millennium Writings competitions. His work appears, or is forthcoming in, amongst others, Soft Cartel Magazine, X-R-A-Y Literary Magazine, Wilderness House Literary Review, and Gone Lawn. Find him on Twitter @tylercdempsey

‘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”.