In All My Memories Flowers are Taking the Place of Faces by William Bortz

instead of telling you my name / I will unravel my hands from my pockets / and show you what I have lost / those little eternities know me best / they dig their eager claws into my tender belly / and call me to be hungry / I am not ready / I am a removal / I often do not believe morning when it tells me it will arrive with newness in its small mouth / like the steady light of home turning the front porch into a lighthouse / I am uncertain / so do not consider it a blade / to your throat / when I tell you that I am unsure if our eternity will outlive the others / give pain a body / and it will press your arm between your shoulder blades / until you cannot hold who you love anymore / I’ve given pain a whole country / I have tilled its fields and fed the children / until they were plump and perspiring / I fashioned crude knives from steel  / and taught them to dance with the killing thing resting patient in their teeth / something I meant to learn myself / I’ve waited and waited and waited so long and now all I know is surrendering / I am frail and bleached / now I eat only what pain gives me / and slowly / in cool, fragmented light / I am forgetting your face

 

William Bortz is a writer and editor from Des Moines, Iowa. His work has been published in Luck Magazine, 8 Poems, Folded Word, Empty Mirror, The LOVEbook, and others.

Telephone by Jill Mceldowney

I am beginning to view the body as a well

I could shout Hello, Hello into—
call it a mistake, hang up

out of alarm, because
            tell me

what you thought you were doing answering
when you’ve been dead five whole years?

And is it really you?
How have you kept alive?

What have you grown
down there in the gloom of after like salt?

Perhaps I should say mine—the body is a salt mine.

And I never call
            but you answer anyway.

Was it ever cheerful?
The sound called ringing.

Don’t talk to me,
please

don’t tell me I need you

disoriented, buried alive,
            clawing your way up from the mouth of a cave to show me

the way home
            and tell me,

            what does this even mean? Tell me to spread open my palms, cut
another deck of cards face up—

these lines arch me far
from home.

            I cannot stop from coming—

are you my fate,
my annihilating angel?

Tell me about my love line, my one day call me
bitch. I love that hands on

unmaking: making
I must impossibly bloom
forth; that tallest mountain.

            I dial the dead and you answer.

Hand me the telephone, let me receive
your ice,
your hour of starving, your nude—promise me
I will die dark haired

and still—maybe one day the dead you and I will burn
buildings together for warmth. You will

            speak to me. Tell me about me.

I want to be believed.
Believe me when I say

            it is love that calls me
            to the cruelty of this world.

 

Jill Mceldowney is the author of the chapbook “Airs Above Ground” (Finishing Line Press) as well as “Kisses Over Babylon” (dancing girl press). She is a cofounder and editor for Madhouse Press. She is also a recent National Poetry Series Finalist. Her previously published work can be found in publications such as Prairie Schooner, Muzzle, Vinyl, Fugue, and other notable publications.

landmines with silly eyes by Nicholas Alti

landmines with silly eyes

 

Nicholas Alti’s writing is influenced by chronic pain, depression, addiction, and an affinity for strangeness. He aims for an acceptable symbiosis of pop and pretension, and would like to see more cases of demonic possession. Nicholas is an assistant editor for poetry and fiction at Black Warrior Review. His recent and upcoming work can be found in DIALOGISTDream PopThe Hunger Journal, TERSE, and Yes, Poetry.

Cadaver by Tiffany Belieu

after the fall
a piece of death
was put inside

my bicep funeral
flex tell me
what belongs

to us entirely
threaded as we are
veins, blood and interstates

keeping contained
we grow slick
as the pulse of parts

covered in skin
I’m grateful as I look
at the plots,

wonder who is left
whole, who
spared a bone,

a heart, a lung, a marvel,
bodies magnificent
in their expansion

 

Tiffany Belieu is a poetry late bloomer. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Meow Meow Pow Pow, Collective Unrest, The Cabinet of Heed, and Moonchild Magazine, among others. She loves tea and cats, and can be found on Twitter @tiffbot.

Freedom Song by Alcian Lindo

Freedom Song

Alcian Lindo is a poet, singer and songwriter from Oakland, California. She studied English and Music at UC Davis and is currently working on her MFA in Creative Writing with an emphasis in Poetry from Mills College. When she is not in class, writing or singing, she is advising high school students within the Oakland Unified School District, ensuring that they are college and career ready. Alcian is currently working on her first book of poetry to be published in the near future.

Uncle Lazarus has a magic trick by Cheyenne McIntosh

he’s come to live with us now that he can’t go home
after he tried to set fire to Mary and Martha in the middle of the night,
weeping about how his old man touched him, back in the Old Country

now there’s a restraining order and a court date, so Uncle sleeps
at the foot of my bed, spilling his drink in my bedsheets
and telling stories from day-trips to the family lake

he wakes me up early this morning, with a treasure to show me:
I follow him through the house, hearing Bathsheba’s breath through the walls
as she sleeps, knowing the rules of being alone with Uncle

there’s an overturned glass waiting for us on the bathroom counter:
inside a cluster fly, the kind that slips in through our windows for winter
before dying, leaving behind a honey smell and their eggs within our walls

these are easy flies for trapping – they float lazily from room to room,
easier to catch and kill with their speed and size – and Uncle has drowning plans,
carefully lifting the glass to insert a straw filled with water, his dirty finger

a stopper until the placement is right and he rains down his prey, the fly
struggling at first before giving up – its tiny insect lungs filling with water,
its delicate wings wet and heavy and immobile – and this is the first living thing

I have ever watched die. Uncle watches my face, his dirty finger tracing the
tears on my lips before he pulls a salt shaker out of his pajama pocket,
the one he uses at night for his tequila game, licking his hand before shooting back

he buries the fly in the salt and tells me the story about that time
he tried to teach my mother to swim in the lake and she almost drowned
because he was drinking and all little girls know how to swim in the Old Country

it’s easy to drown, he explains as the salt dries up the water,
the cluster fly now awake again and climbing out of its salt-grave

 

Cheyenne McIntosh is an undergraduate at Franklin College, where she writes about gender-queer studies in science fiction. She’s the Leading Poetry Editor of Brave Voices Magazine and an editorial intern for Juxtaprose Magazine and Sundress Publications. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in carte blanche, Likely Red Press, Digital Americana Magazine, Small Po[r]tions, and elsewhere. In 2018, she was named as one of Indiana’s Best Emerging Poets and received her first Pushcart Prize nomination. You can find her @crm_writes.

Bleed and Breathe the Air by E. Kristin Anderson

I:

This Could Take All Night

From the sea floor I wait for everyone. Say goodbye
to the generator, my blue wire, just circles through skin.
I’m not high, not drinking down the spoils to save me,
numb and cold in my murdering dress, I line up alone.

Unwind me in a dream burn—these dreams laced
and lost in you again, the clean night our last sail
and I swear—an aurora will die and tether us
so I learn the ordinary—the blood is wearing well.

I’m frayed around the ends, tied to the next home
and I’m red, red, now—taking pleasure in breaking
down. That day my stitches were someone to know;
still my motored heart is firing on and on and on.

I promise to find glitter, to face angels, to want—
you started it, this breakout, this dizzy revolution.

 

II:

In the Lost and Found

You started it—this breakout. This dizzy revolution
can’t change back. Truth hollow, I live in the sky tonight
satisfied with the burn, wasting time, my insides numb
into a bullet, this blast a cure for the lights, a riot cry.

I greet the sun when it arrives, the glitter we climb
and here—a hello collides, a tangled demand found
where I quit metamorphosis. I believe in sick. I wind
around wires. Tonight I’m leaving. The stacked dead

are much too proud for my dreams, a wonderful mess.
Aging is complication; I’ve found no pleasure in home.
Yesterday is left underground, these stars spin a noose
calling unanswered, calling unanswered, the divide down.

Here aurora is a bruise, a life, an ordinary embrace—
hello is how I get somewhere in my blood dress.

 

III:

Trade Your Outside In

Hello is how I get somewhere in my blood dress—
clean and cold, I’m killing beautiful for the sun.
And here I quit the bastards and sink a wire noose,
calling underground for dizzy truth: you’re a friend.

Mirror, mirror, I cry to the rafters, to bright hell
and my skin is free to take all night on revolution.
Swear you’ll never tell: tonight I like my life tangled—
one of these days I’ll be more than a mannequin.

If we fired down this divide, left embracing the dead,
I’d haunt it, demand heart. I’m not nursing patience
and their wearing burn is hollow, stacked and faded.
Next year life runs out; we sleep and dream in stitches.

I could stay sick, the hole we fill with breaking night;
from the sea floor I wait for everyone: Say goodbye.

 

This is a found poem. Source material: Foo Fighters. There Is Nothing Left To Lose, Roswell/RCA, 1999.

 

E. Kristin Anderson is a poet, Starbucks connoisseur, and glitter enthusiast living in Austin, Texas. She is the editor of Come as You Are, an anthology of writing on 90’s pop culture (Anomalous Press), and Hysteria: Writing the female body (Sable Books, forthcoming). Kristin is the author of nine chapbooks of poetry including A Guide for the Practical Abductee (Red Bird Chapbooks), Pray, Pray, Pray: Poems I wrote to Prince in the middle of the night (Porkbelly Press), Fire in the Sky (Grey Book Press), 17 seventeen XVII (Grey Book Press), and Behind, All You’ve Got (Semiperfect Press, forthcoming). Kristin is an assistant poetry editor at The Boiler and an editorial assistant at Sugared Water. Once upon a time she worked nights at The New Yorker. Find her online at http://www.EKristinAnderson.com and on twitter @ek_anderson.

Aurora Borealis by Erik Fuhrer

Swallow whole planets of double helixes and calculate the time it takes
to destroy an organ without quite draining all the blood from the body
Precision is key to this process so that breath is still a color we can admire
swirling in the aftermatter like the aurora borealis in a sky I will never see

If it gets to the time when the body is only a shudder
close the windows
shut the aurora borealis out
It was never here anyway
It was just an echo of light
bouncing off the body of a bluebird
who is the color of breath when it is newborn

Send the double helixes to the lab
Test for light    birdshit         an answer to the reason that the body can’t stop
becoming aurora borealis

I pray to god but it is only aurora borealis
Aurora borealis is the heart when it becomes an organ rather than a pump
Aurora borealis is your face when you see the aurora borealis
Aurora borealis is double helixes spinning genetic code

 

Erik Fuhrer is the author of Not Human Enough for the Census, forthcoming from Vegetarian Alcoholic Press. His work has been published in Cleaver, BlazeVox, Softblow, and various other venues.

Call Me Judy Tonight by Kathryn Hummel

Here I am playing
Judy Garland
circa sometime
in the circus
making love to
a nail-cracked pill
as booze burns
from cut crystal.
Satin eiderdown
absorbs the spillage:
rage directed
at everyone outside
for not noticing
my beguiling tint
for not recognizing
how brilliant
my hard-won
qualities.

 

Dr. Kathryn Hummel is a writer and researcher whose diverse creative and scholarly works have been published/presented/translated/anthologized/recognized in various parts of the world. Currently, within Australia, she edits non-fiction and travel writing for Verity La. Kathryn’s 5th volume of poetry is forthcoming with Singapore’s Math Paper Press and her 6th and 7th with London’s Protex(s)t Books.