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.

How to Love a Monster with Average-Sized Hands by Jules Archer

If I could marry a myth it would be monstrous, but not monstrous like frightening. Monstrous as in a monstrous love where I’d be prouder than a Phoenix in plumage, and hotter than a poker. I’d swing on Cthulhu’s feelers. Take a water-slide ride down the tail of Godzilla. I’d let a Wendigo eat my heart and put a ring on it and drive me out to our small town’s overlook where he’d insist I’d wear protection and let me finish the rest of my wine. Loch Ness monster, more like Loch Bless monster, because every night you come to me in bed is another day I fall in love. Instead of calling the cops, my father would shake hands with Cyclops, and call him the son he never had, because if your face were a little more lion and a little less wolf we’d have a magically monstrous love on our hands, but instead I am stuck with you, you, and you are no creepy cryptid but a mere under-the-bed boogeyman that sends me screaming only that’s what I get for having married a monster with average-sized hands and not looking out the front door before answering it.

 

Jules Archer writes flash fiction in Arizona. A Pushcart-nominated writer, her work has appeared in SmokeLong Quarterly, >kill author, Pank, The Butter, Maudlin House, and elsewhere. She likes to smell old books, drink red wine, and read true crime tales. Her chapbook ALL THE GHOSTS WE’VE ALWAYS HAD is out from Thirty West Publishing.

Thunderbird by Wanda Deglane

the smallest ocean lives between / my lungs
and kidneys / the tiniest door holds back
the grief living inside my heart / give me
a word for / the uneasy unfamiliarity of finally
being okay / but only if it stings / on its way out /
show me the moment the trauma finally killed me /
spat me out purple-skinned and suffocating / but
newborn / my body is crawling with insects / my
reality is crashing / into blood-red suns / lollipops
from banks flying out of car windows / and smashed
pineapple on scorching sidewalk / with my name
written all over it / we’re sitting on thunderbird’s
wing / drunk on dew drops / i ask you why
this healing / only makes me feel sicker / you say
the moon’s made of paper / and we’re all just
lit matches / getting closer and closer.

 

Wanda Deglane is a Capricorn from Arizona. She is the daughter of Peruvian immigrants and attends Arizona State University. Her poetry has been published or is forthcoming from Rust + Moth, Glass Poetry, L’Ephemere Review, and Yes Poetry, among other lovely places. Wanda is the author of Rainlily (2018), Lady Saturn (Rhythm & Bones, 2019), Venus in Bloom (Porkbelly Press, 2019), and Bittersweet (Vegetarian Alcoholic Press, 2019).

Diagnosis by M. Stone

He gave you a small bakery box
but didn’t reveal its contents,

didn’t warn you to handle
the grenade inside with paralyzing care.
Now I take it from your aching fingers
and shake the cardboard square—

never did have the patience
for a pendulum descending—

but the grenade rolls around in the dark,
pin securely in place. It holds its breath,
waiting for me to blink.

 

M. Stone is a bookworm, birdwatcher, and stargazer living in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Her poems have appeared in San Pedro River Review, UCity Review, and numerous other journals. She is the author of the micro-chapbook Evolving God (Ghost City Press) and the chapbook Lore. Find her on Twitter @writermstone and at http://www.writermstone.wordpress.com.

i think i need a shock collar by Kat Giordano

a shock collar that jolts me out of my idiocy every time I wonder if you still think I’m your soulmate

a shock collar that jolts me a second time, but more painfully, whenever i start to think how hot it would be if you used a shock collar on me in bed

a shock collar that causes a giant neon sign that says WORRY WON’T KEEP YOU SAFE to slowly lower itself from the ceiling and blind me

a shock collar that keeps me from calling you whenever I’m afraid

a shock collar that can determine whether it makes sense for me to be afraid and then only shocks me in the moments where it doesn’t

a shock collar containing a giant mechanical hand that stamps YOU CANNOT WORRY YOURSELF INTO BEING LOVED backwards on my forehead in red ink and holds a mirror up to my face and makes me read it and then the red ink gives me a full-body rash

a shock collar that comes with rash ointment

a shock collar that tells me the truth

a shock collar that was designed to tell me the truth and only validates my feelings and when I call tech support they assure me my device isn’t defective

a shock collar that replays conversations between us in which you tell me you love me

a shock collar that loves me

a shock collar that tells me I deserve to hurt but the only batteries to the remote are at your house

 

Kat Giordano is a poet (1%) and massive millennial crybaby (99%) who lives in New Jersey. She co-edits Philosophical Idiot and works for a law firm somehow. She is also the author of many highly embarrassing social media meltdowns. Her poems have appeared in Occulum, Ghost City Review, Awkward Mermaid, The Cincinnati Review, CLASH Magazine, and others. Her debut full-length poetry collection, The Poet Confronts Bukowski’s Ghost, is available now.

Pecan Grove with Body Farm by Jack B. Bedell

Scrub brush sprawled and dead vines
along the edge of the trees, and bones

lying in fresh dirt. What would a deer
need to bring it here? Nothing green

to eat, no smell of new grass or
water to draw it into this clearing.

It chews a rib bone as quietly
as it can, skittish but not ready

to leave. I’m sure it would rather
crack pecan shells in its teeth

for soft meat, but it has this grave
all to itself, and more bones around its feet.

 

Jack B. Bedell is Professor of English and Coordinator of Creative Writing at Southeastern Louisiana University where he also edits Louisiana Literature and directs the Louisiana Literature Press. His latest collections are Elliptic (Yellow Flag Press, 2016), Revenant (Blue Horse Press, 2016), and No Brother, This Storm (Mercer University Press, fall 2018). He has been appointed by Governor John Bel Edwards to serve as Louisiana Poet Laureate 2017-2019.

I write a letter by Elisabeth Horan

Dear Dr:

it’s embarrassing
to request
accommodations
for a life
on hold – unable to
make phone calls;
go outside;
hold one’s own.

I lick the envelope
it’s sweet / it’s permanent
the blue box
will swallow it
no turning back now

Dear Dr:

it’s embarrassing
my mental health
deteriorating
please sign
this form which declares me

unable unable
to function –
make phone calls;
go outside
smile at the neighbor

I turn the key
set off an explosion
makes moot
my letter

the blue box
still chewing
on the fodder
I fed it

Good Dr:

shrugs; sighs,
it is permanent
I suppose – her mental
impairment; it
seems she
missed her
appointment

not the least bit
wondering if
I am already
dead

the blue box mangled;
metal feet hold tight
to the pavement

unable unable
to function
without her hinged
mouth &

iconic half-dome
USPS
head

 

Elisabeth Horan is an imperfect creature advocating for animals, children, and those suffering alone and in pain – especially those ostracized by disability and mental illness. Elisabeth is honored to serve as Poetry Editor at Anti-Heroin Chic Magazine, and is Co-Owner of Animal Heart Press. She recently earned her MFA from Lindenwood University and received a 2018 Best of the Net Nomination from Midnight Lane Boutique and a 2018 Pushcart Nomination from Cease Cows.

They’re Grackles and Every Time I See Them by Patric Pepper

I scrawl my admiration in my all-weather birder book.
I don’t really have an all-weather birder book at all,
just the one in my mind, where I’m free to scratch.
The grackles cluck
to have their say, and I like that. Sometimes they swell
& hop & spread dark wings & perch on my shoulder &
have a look
in my birder book.

Which is to say they examine my self-assured scratch
with their ESP black eyes that chill the spine
with their golden-zero fat-chance good-luck pupils—&
then they double-cluck & flap & bolt pell-mell.
In my birder book

I make up little poems (not really) that point in all uncertain
terms to how crooked they’re not, & how they,
the grackles,
invented the spoon, the hallmark of genius tails that steer
them as they buck & bolt away from Homo sapiens insults
like: “Trash birds!” & “Not worthy of poetry!” & “Filthy!”
These misapprehensions
I also scribble
in my birder book.

 

Patric Pepper has published a couple of chapbooks and a full-length collection along the way. His work has appeared most recently in or is forthcoming from Beltway Poetry Quarterly, The Broadkill Review, District Lines, Gargoyle, The Innisfree Poetry Journal, and The Northern Virginia Review. He prefers disorganized “religion” and misapprehensions of quantum mechanics to ersatz enlightenments. He lives in D.C.