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I have just realized that the stakes are myself I have no other ransom money, nothing to break or barter but my life my spirit measured out, in bits, spread over the roulette table, I recoup what I can nothing else to shove under the nose of the maître de jeu nothing to thrust out the window, no white flag this flesh all I have to offer, to make the play with this immediate head, what it comes up with, my move as we slither over this go board, stepping always (we hope) between the lines —

Diane di Prima, “Revolutionary Letter #1” 3


CONTENTS

AMONG THE ARCHIVES OF SEXUAL ACTS | 6 IN THE GARDEN OF GENITALS | 7 ANIMAL&ANIMAL | 8 PASTORAL | 9 from SPRING CALLS ME A DIZZY FRYBANK| 10 BEFORE SURGERY | 20 THAT’S WHAT SHE SAID | 22 THE BACKWOODS | 24 (HOW) THIS FEELS LIKE THE LAST (TIME) | 26 HANKY CODE | 27

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OPEN LETTER TO THE LESBIANS WHO WON’T COME NEAR ME BECAUSE I’VE HAD A DICK INSIDE ME | 30 THE DEVIL | 31 [SPECIES / SPECIOUS] | 32 THE FAIRY POEM | 46 G[R]AZE | 47 AT THE GRAVEYARD | 50 ON MY AVOIDANCE WHILE ILL, REPLY ALL: | 51 FIRST FUCK | 53 FIRST LOVE | 54 FIRST FUCK | 55 IT’S TRASH NIGHT, | 56 IN WHAT WORLD | 57 WAY IN | 58 CONTRIBUTOR KEY | 60 ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS | 62 EDITORS | 64 5


AMONG THE ARCHIVES OF SEXUAL ACTS | I Suck the fruit pit, a stone rolling around your mouth, a hint of sweetness & flesh, as you pull from the shelves bondage & toys, experiments: what happens if you put ice there a hand there a little pain, a bruise, a tight rope around the wrist to the bed frame that we walk, a delicate balance between body & boredom to test the edges of our skin & spirit, love & cum; we want to trespass on ourselves so that we might escape ourselves in the blind blur orgasm of ourselves

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IN THE GARDEN OF GENITALS | I my mouth is full of Easter lilies, pluck petals from my teeth, fuck my face outside a crop of cocks rise like Christ for the Second Coming, labia spread toward the sunshaped nipples of celestial breasts, shining down on limbs & hands & hair & tongues climbing the trunks & torsos of every animal with vulgar names, bawdy jokes, dating apps, fetishes, neuroses, miseries, hungers, voids, loves & hatreds & bodies & bodies one atop another atop another embracing, holding, fucking, in a world conspiring to recreate itself in a unified whimper of pleasure

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ANIMAL&ANIMAL | I “Why struggle with the flesh when the frightening problem of the spirit exists?” —García Lorca i want to fuck you on the spot in Spain where García Lorca met Dalí and learned the distorted contours of desire. i want to hold you in Brooklyn where they cage & slaughter chickens, birds whose blood & feathers run down the gutters of 21st Street. i want to marry you in a bathtub where we can wash each other’s skin clean off each other’s bones, scrub until we’re as exposed as exposed can be

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PASTORAL | II Presence at odds with I love you from a shambles, jumpsuit season, can we break lank straight hair some bitches have the volta already or what still as projection shimmering and green my hair’s not frizzy yours is I was never on livejournal so who am I cruising even or what park do I find you untimely responsive admiration garishly encomium voilà or don’t you talk to Candy today you are tumescent like a colour I wanted something buoyant to say stretch a hand and the hand says yes and here in the key of friendship choking on the bone of love

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from SPRING CALLS ME A DIZZY FRYBANK | III spring calls me a dizzy frybank and the feelings sink straight to the sea of old troubled me urgent to recall an April whipping into shape am wrapped in a frame-of-mind that’s useless that’s the real problem it’s fascinating that i’ve become my own condition praxis to failure -- waning towards enclosure moondropped and dipped wet tie-dye in the bathtub guinea pigged and belittled by famous ppl so much easier to fly the chicken out of the coup with a drone than get in there with your fingers prickly hairs everywhere and microscopic pictures wrestle at the frames to unstuck the madness you’ll need epoxy-less lust powder sprinkled on the fat carnage / i have a change sphere sense warped the shape between my lids look your screaming colors are adult bystanders much easier to be our own enemy then be guided by political figures insistence on the dangers of far away ppls that we don’t actually live in direct contact with on a day-to-day basis

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my fat hands dip a feeling in butter a frog in the mud it’s hot between the air and my speaking lips can’t fill the room with fumes unconsumed by us too oils, gases, sprays, polish, coat the air with evermore fill my lungs with high shine later spitting blood up must be for artistic venture can’t be a capitalist and a neo-impressionist or arch my spine with a regret so bold-- it too comes apart to have intrepid gobs like flea beds interpreted as anger where bits swell from internalized scratching of the mind unscathed surface so appearance maintained not a casualty caught up or revealed as separation gut sauce separating from blood cells that look like effective policing of our personhoods in fact lucid transparency is so much bigger than the individual threaten the information on hand that some ppl are willing to die for the poorer you are the more fucked over you are (etc.) skin starts smoking but it’s just a feeling on the inside a large tombstone sitting flat-centered on your chest { } ~~ that is a filmic advertisement for anxiety a center coated in ruin

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tragedy comes around to erase you some say arousal is a form of erasure in that it distracts the mind from digesting the whole it’s not a case of what is liable to be held up in court the prettiest lawsuits offer the biggest dram

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people can be so terrible to one another

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i like to be alive in the usual way and give into concrete obsessions i like to feel the slip of coin on my tooth i like to be inside myself then turn inside out and digest the biosphere

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i colored my hair with stones soot soaked the hair out of my ash i have four fake prismic concerns five bleed copper and six eat wire my flavor is raw metal 7 o’clock i stink at eight it’s the way my hands work the tools 9 o’clock comes around and i’m still stringing it’s a lodge at a 10 o’clock a sweet tambourine rings my head into oblivion

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circumstances are surfacing i stuck a whisky filled cup into my cup of water and the water was displaced spilling onto the ground at the comedy show never filled it up let the booze drink me shouldered my way to the hostess to tell her a story about coincidence in personal affairs (sorta-- enter long story version here-- no, probably not) she hugged me that surprised me but alas i always want more wanted to feel truly connected truly understood instead felt like a stupid white girl she’ll never remember me she’s verified on twitter and has 120k followers shit what exactly happened?

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life airs a fragmentary glow and starts to churn out a bunch of grapes for wine plumes a linty texture on the wooden barrel and circles a red sauce in its guise hideous boots stomp the grapes to juice collect the red sauce and make a ton of CO2 for you and us fuck-ups to drink we drink the shit out of it barely care about its branches frogs hop onto lily pads and don’t kiss its surface to prince just rely on it for toad hopping or occasional dry surface in the sun like i lawn chair you to prop myself up

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wounded despite all belief what is and is not popular the music i’ve championed the sport i’ve pressed against my breast the night we interrupted a variety of songs we were singing from our mid-section i came to poetry this way vessel abridged \ music unhinged like a conquistadorette without ties to any empire carry the loofah to remove the dead skin real people go to the desert alone i should write a song about that then sing it in the middle of this poem home invasion style

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slightly tweak what has become of you and i a bead of salt in your beard the sign of aging well and staying empathetic still we tie ourselves together to arrange something easy we want it to be the best night out full of relaxation and something that is new the particular way to find a warped feeling that we keep returning to you don’t want to do your taxes i gave THE MAN all my money we straddle the frame breaking down the next few months into threads of income becomes tiring a week of resentments build the weakest of all our emptiness

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BEFORE SURGERY | IV 1. At night, alone with you, the room swells. Someone has culled the good cheese from the dumpster and left it for us. I’m all for second lives. I’m all for the three olives it takes to make you a drink. Even these cups are disposable. Part of the trash we leave behind. It’s so beautiful, like a mountain. We pause to look back at it but then we must move on. The lyrics say so. Please, just don’t say hospital, it makes me sleep badly, thinking of the color white. It makes me want to stop eating. My things are scattered everywhere. Your clothes are on the floor.

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2. When you look at me, I feel like something pulled from the water, glittering. I feel like a piece of trash, but yours. A kind of new, I experience myself under your gaze. I undress with the light on. I wait for your open mouth. I watch it fill with the word boy.

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THAT'S WHAT SHE SAID | V well, i also wanted to be in love. deep romantic stupid bullshit love where i mailed vaguely illicit photos of myself to my lover, in black and white, printed from my best friend's deskside photo printer, a photo he had taken one morning as i read a long magazine story about a new york city hustler, a woman who had and lost it all, in hopes of finding inspiration for my own story, a story about a man who might have become my lover — it was as yet unclear. in the photo, i am topless, but you can only see the tops of my breasts, my string bikini tanlines. i am twirling a strand of hair, still damp from the shower, between my forefinger and my thumb and i am looking down, mouth slightly open. i had just asked my best friend, do you want to see a movie later? and he puts his camera down and picks up his camcorder and fixes it on me because we are always creating these images of each other, for the record, whether they are real or true or not. this particular image was the first in a home video series, one i had begged him to start after watching my uncle's videos from the early 90s, tapes of grainy footage that brought me to tears. no reason, really. just seeing my older brother play the violin at a family party, he was smiling so big when everyone clapped and he was missing a few teeth, and it was something about his innocence that blindsided me, something i saw in him that i had forgotten or never really known.

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"I think im gonna quit my job," he emailed me last sunday from vietnam, his new home. we feel a lot of things but i just write back, "that sucks. maybe give it a little more time?" on the back of the photo, all glossy and precious, i wanted to copy a dream poem. i thought he would like that. dream poem no. 96, or something like that. maybe of a dream i would dream beside him. one i hadn't written yet. i hadn't found an envelope big enough yet. i wasn't sure if our situation even warranted a letter in the mail, a love postcard, no less, but i wanted that. maybe i would just write it in.

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THE BACKWOODS | VI Every bit of Earth was fertile and writhing. Bonobos learned the value in pleasure, the richness of compromise, they began to brawl. They, like me and you, learned that this isn’t just for love, but for advantage and fun. We began like them loving for compromise and because something feels good down there. In this musty beginning, male Frigate birds feel themselves swell, a small sac growing larger, redder. Females choose the mate with the largest sac, so they learn it is better to be honest. Share all of your goods and swollen parts. Wear your testicles in open air. When they mate, they cover her eyes with finger flamed feathers. Never let her see who is around her. She will look for better. Don’t let her eyes even look at each other. She may find plumpness in herself. This is how he keeps her from leaving. They cover her in all their dazzling hair and drape her in primitive sheets. Close the curtains, turn off the lights, make the air still and push fog down her throat. Use their tongue like tides. Dive in her and slowly degrade what she thought she was made of. Dig in her rocks and pull. Cover her eyes and pull . Over and over. They do this and keep her this way. He ages and comes from behind. He is more skinned every moment. I wish we could compromise again. Even in the sickening pits of dawn, male porcupines learn they can’t rape other porcupines. Too many needles. Too many no’s. They have to wait for them to want. They have to wait for her. How impatient the first male must have felt to have to wait. How patient he must have become. He grows 24


longer limbs and needles run far away from his back. He feels safe here. He was safer here. He asks to do this bare like the beginning men did. He doesn’t need protection. He says we do not need protection. He does not want it anyway. He need this and want this and this is what will make him happiest. All animals do it bare and what do you expect of me. what type of fucking evolution is this? Yes, what type of backwards fucking are we doing. Even porcupines have inherited patience. He wants me bare like in the beginning when there was disgusting sex and pheromones and instinct, but at least then peacocks were honest about their size and porcupines could wait for her to want. This bed an odyssey of grime, rustling in our own regressive jungle. Slimed with afterbirth, reeking of slosh from older wombs. I wish he could wait for me. We smell like the sex that made us, all of it and all of this, wet.

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(HOW) THIS FEELS LIKE THE LAST (TIME) | VII and i may v well be my favorite sand-style or a Connecticut fir—light branches, spilling over with hornets— my mother, remembering the after-swells i carried once and never left alone— i was so clean then, like dead air (and red eyes) ****** and you have been slower to turn around for a few hours now— and i am not yet a Borges-y-eternal-library in person form ****** and no more like-“days” more like striding over(through) them hasty piles of broken piano keys— your fingers curling inward

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all on their own


HANKY CODE | VIII In 2001, bandanas were banned from my private, Christian school. My eleven-year-old self wanted to wear a red bandana as a shirt like Glitter-era Mariah or Destiny’s Child-era Beyoncé. I knew this wouldn’t fly, and would have settled for tying a white bandana around my braids like J. Lo. I only got away with wearing a bandana to school when I gave a book report as Harriet Tubman. Normally, my teachers would have feared that I was in a gang, but even Harriet Tubman is shown wearing a purple bandana on a postage stamp. At school, the pastor’s daughters attempted the Crip Walk. They squealed about the “C-Walk” and practiced at the mall with red bandanas through their belt loops, hopping up and down like they had to pee. Thank God they had no rhythm, so the real gang members couldn’t tell what they were trying to do. When I told my mother about these girls from school, how they wore thongs in the locker room and had acrylic French manicures, she said I had lost an earring. My left hoop had fallen out. My mother said I had to be careful. That if a man only wore an earring in his right ear, it meant that he was gay.

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My mother let me wear my white bandana on weekends. What she didn’t know is that bandanas are code, too, for the fetishes of men who sleep with men. They say it started after the California Gold Rush. Due to a shortage of women, men square-danced together. A red hanky in a man’s back pocket meant he danced the female part; a blue hanky, the male part. In the 1970s, men realized handkerchief colors could give more crucial information than earrings. In Hanky Code, a white bandana stands for jerking off. The right pocket means you give, the left means you receive. Harriet Tubman’s purple bandana would have stood for body piercings, and the red bandana for fisting. I don’t know which would have upset my school worse: blue for the Crips, or blue indicating whether a man is a top or a bottom during anal sex. From Tumblr, I learned about femme-flagging. How nail polish is code, too, for the fetishes of women who sleep with women. Painting my ring finger signals what I like or want. I could paint flowers for romance to show a woman I would woo her. Or beige to say I like rimming, fuchsia for spanking, red and white stripes to say I shaved, or a tiny, traffic light for consent.

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I am waiting for the day I cruise an unsuspecting straight girl with a pink manicure and glitter on one finger. She’ll say she got the idea from Pinterest, had no idea it meant anything. And I’ll tell her it means femme for femme. There is a new stamp of Harriet Tubman in a yellow bandana. My mother does not understand why I am laughing. That I am part of an underground railroad of unseen femmes, betrayed by our dresses, makeup, and long hair. She’ll ask what’s so funny about a yellow bandana. And I’ll say, remember those girls who tried to do the Crip Walk, how they danced like they had to pee?

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OPEN LETTER TO THE LESBIANS WHO WON’T COME NEAR ME BECAUSE I’VE HAD A DICK INSIDE ME | VIII I am an out bisexual woman. The Kinsey Scale says I am primarily homosexual, but more than incidentally heterosexual. You know how everyone likes their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches a different way? A ton of people are allergic to peanuts and use almond or cashew butter. Some people prefer creamy, others like crunchy. And everyone has a different preference for peanut butter to jelly ratio. I like 60% peanut butter 40% jelly, so the bread doesn’t get too soggy. Some people like peanut butter only. As a kid, I loved apricot-pineapple preserves, but these days I rock raspberry. I am no turncoat for using a different kind of jelly. For learning there are new kinds of jelly I had never even dreamed of.

In the lesbian community, a “gold star” is a lesbian who has never slept with a man. It is a badge of honor to be a gold star, so pristine, so aware of your sexuality that you have never had a misstep. 30


THE DEVIL | IX

I fell for the mythogeographic trick when love words hung in the heatsprawl Wasn't I the envy of cake-fed girls baked in sun & scripture? Didn't I float down the Hiwassee, its surface creamthick & slow? Once we drew a map of our home states, pushed together like a new country. In between: skyline recast as an empty parking lot. In between: Highland & Rosemont, back alley, the Kitty Moon boarded up for good. A pretty bartender took our song requests all night at the Lost & Found a week before the place was razed. I was a good pupil & learned well what black magic can do.

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[SPECIES / SPECIOUS] | X

he would tell me that he felt her up but that he wasn’t even attracted to her as if unexpressed dislike has the power of physical erasure he would later admit to me that he didn’t want to fuck her but then she told him that she once fucked christian bök so he decided — in that moment — that

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he should fuck her for association he would later have a child with then marry a woman named christina who teaches writing they would go on to live a life I thought would be my own he would tell me that he would always be better at teaching feminism because he is a man he

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would shout across the street while stoop-seated hey, I’ll buy you dinnah and I would pause and consider that it was a catcall offering real economic exchange and hm he would immediately become exclusive with a poet I knew through other people and haunt my community while still

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reaching out here and there to make sure I was still within orbital range he would walk me home after a date and high-five me goodnight he would later get kicked out of grad school for sexual harassment and not understand why the woman he was seeing at the time would

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abort his baby then he’d move to brooklyn and begin a fantasy life of working in a charcuterie slash craft beer shop and sexually harass some other people while living off the currency of an exaggerated status ya, ABD, in cultural studies he would tell me that he didn’t understand why they

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were hooking up when my boobs are so much bigger than hers during a meeting about my thesis he would later say that he really wanted to pursue polyamory and was disappointed when I said ok he would never know that I overheard him call me frigid a remark that cut because untruths are

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hardest to mend he would fuck me in the morning without asking and sometimes say sorry, that one seemed to be all about me somewhat apologetically he would storm out of my house and announce he was cutting off contact like a boy who had his toy taken away after I said

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this isn’t working he would say my little feminist, you have a beautiful pussy and I would never be able to come with him he would admit that for years his go-to gift for women had been moondance he would later say he tried monogamy over the summer and he just made his partner miserable he would go on to date a perfectly

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kind woman with a drinking problem who burned down her own apartment but his penis would work just fine with her he would be just starting to come and I would realize that I had no control in the situation — would consciously go limp — later I would have a conversation with a friend

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about that moment when you just give up all control during sex and think he would say who are some of your favorite authors — but don’t name any women because I won’t know them but not before I stopped mid-step having lost all feeling he would talk to me about cixous and then place my hand over his

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erection and expect he would respond sometimes I work followed by imagine one 8-10 hour class when I told him he was disappearing he would ask me to send him a naked photo too early on and I would never be able to repair the burst of that textual bubble he would later tell me that that night we slept on the

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floor before he moved to new york was one he would always treasure even tho he smelled like fried chicken cooked in a batter gone sour he would say I just don’t think we fit together while we were fucking he would send me an email to prove that he was correct in an argument I

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never had with him months later even though his supporting evidence proved nothing he would later tell me that he was going to write me a letter of apology but never got around to it and thought his sharing this maybe-truth would do in place of the imagined letter he would never admit to it but I would later find out from a friend

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in berlin that he had tried to force himself on a mutual friend of ours in san francisco while he was basically living with me in sonoma county he would turn to face me as I stood at my door in a robe in the afternoon and say goodbye pretty eyes and I would feel nothing because he really said nothing

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THE FAIRY POEM | XI Every time someone says they don't believe in fairies, an army of karmic fairies is dispersed, and heads immediately for this someone’s heart to supplement its bile with misfortune and rue. Every time a bell rings, an angel gets its fangs. Every angel’s fucking terrifying. Every angel’s a zombie and would eat your brains out, then you become one and try to eat someone else’s brains out. That’s how angels work. I don’t know what heaven is. My grandmother once described it as all the faces floating around you ever knew. Fairies fuck flowers to make more fairies. A lot of fucking goes on in the spirit world. Bromeliad has a sore asshole almost daily. Oh yeah, I forgot, only anal. One guy fucked his girlfriend for four years only in the ass. Another had a girlfriend with stretched ear flesh he tried to fuck. If it’s part of the human body, somebody’s tried to fuck it. Wisteria inseminated makes anthrax look like child’s play. Astromeria engendered is a vicious affair. I used to give my girlfriend flowers, then she ripped my heart out. Fucking figures. I get off on strange shit, dark gems in a twilight riding, mossy caverns with garden visions huddled inside my head, constellations rolling in the briar, and setting shit on fire. Hard to believe a week ago we were still in Disney. “Thursday night, after yoga (‘raise the inner lining of your anus and take it into your chest’ or something like that) …” and was turned on—does that 46


make me weird? And is it “Make-out Music”? Trees at the end of autumn are sinewy as fuck. Ninety percent of Rilke translations are bullshit, and yet the flowers go on fucking as if the bells had stopped ringing, or was it the other way around, and I’m the butterfly? The whole shit’s fucked. Uma Thurman’s sub-human. The one stone in your oven moves.

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G[R]AZE | XII First: Sometimes I am a crane dolly, a camera’s lens, and I’m not the director of the scene but maybe the script supervisor or the focus group. I have notes. Feedback. But the scene never gets changed, no matter how often I watch my body move tamely, tepidly. And other times when I disassociate I’m still there, in my body, but trying to lose connection to it. Or rather I don’t want my body to get in the way of being me because I don’t know and never have known what it is to feel that my body is an actual part of me. Camera Lens Me sees me during sex & notes they’d be cute in this moment if testosterone hadn’t had its residency. Camera Lens Me sees me during sex and can maybe appreciate in this moment the scythe’s curve of their shoulders. I think about googling katoptronophilia just to read what it’s like to be turned on by self-observation. I think it’d probably be hot to just be present in my body; I’d settle for being present. I think about that 29-course tasting menu I had in Chicago, about how that was when I really felt present in my physical self, how the only part of my body I don’t identify with via negativa is my tongue. How that’s the one part of me that anticipates sensation, that quivers with gratitude, that gives itself over.

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Second: O to be consumed! O to be desired in that way! Digested, which is to say lingering, on you, proteins breaking down into you. Digested, which is to say distributed, placed appropriately from my many parts. Digested, which is to say dissolved. Serve me forth. Each day I am a different menu. Describe me like dishes: TEACHER, lecture, blazer, counseling, bluffing – 28. GREEN DRESS, turquoise bracelet, suede oxfords, budding breasts – 29. Order me. Please. Talk of the sourcing of my ingredients: stunted growth in Missouri soil, Alabama rootbound & rising. I’ll come to table on a stylish wood cutting board. Or a porcelain plate, jewel tea, autumn leaf. I am thick like roux for this feeling. Is this not how everyone desires? Tongueslick? Maillard reactive?

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Third: I do not mean to convey food as substitute for sex. I do not mean to convey food porn; the conventional metaphor. I mean the convectional metaphor. An understanding of how desire works from out of my own disembodiment. I want you to look at me glinty-eyed, like I look at things – my desire not for possession but invitation, to be welcomed into who I’ve always been. I want you to look at me yearning for a part of yourself. I want you to look at me like a grapefruit tart, buttercrusted, waiting to crumble under your weight. I want you to look at me like that curve in the road up the Green Mountains as the end of Wildflowers plays. I want you to look at me like Meiko Satomura, rainbow streamers cascading over the ring ropes. I want you to look at me like laser light robed in tweed. I want you to look at me like that college picture of my mom, on the dorm telephone, hair fine and mile-long as mine used to be. I want you to look at me like this coral lip and these seafoam jeans and these seasonal swells might just make a body together. Like they might just be a body.

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AT THE GRAVEYARD| XIII lips throb halfway up grave-littered lawn, behind gray-faced tomb, part shade, part swollen sun, where a hand’s graze rattles bloodfire up legs— here, with thousands of dead witnesses, open your dark gates & I’ll enter slow, oar dipped in thick water, or plunge me in, make the ghosts howl, your body pressed against stone, hard push, soft fingertips, my teeth tracing collarbone, breast, till every inch of your skin’s wet from my live, longcraving tongue.

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ON MY AVOIDANCE WHILE ILL, REPLY ALL: | XIV re: can we talk later? if i’m terse it’s because i’m hungry or writing. my body, work, is feeble labor. ~ re: how r u, what are u writing sick in that angle, neck bent towards feet like that digital paperclip, quick analog attachment as i email sentiments to u. my silver lead painted radiator hisses slow, in waves, i can taste the vapor on metal. wish i could be good at the city like u are good roping calves in California. ur text reads like the ice cube in my fist, slow burn. ~ re: how is work? renewed my interest after panic attack, deep fear of physical lack or shortcoming: a body abundant, so i write u a letter. i want u to feel my crude hand on paper, the scrawl of a form i can barely translate. u send me pressed desert flowers, no text or paper, just grit. ~

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re: phone call i cannot answer, dissolving my gut, red on the floor. ~ re: this [image] reminds me of u i love the litter, the wind waiting for the red line after wandering, feel silver, see half the skyline in sooty ether like sry my phone died ~ re: r u still in Chicago from the plane city looks all onyx with goldset diamonds grid stops at blue/black lake, sleep with fist under my face, mottle skin malleable, land in Minneapolis, face blurry, with a jaw ache. ~ re: [sext] i wanted u to see my body and how the bones do not hold my shade the same. i feel an absence color when i am this hungry. this thin wristed intimate, lack of little death. chew ice to feel full, i wish i was hot metal 53


FIRST FUCK | XV If it upsets you so much, I never lost my virginity. I cradled it and then buried it under the old rosebush with those dead fish. Or you can know his name was Billy. I made out with another boy, a Bennington, at a school dance. Billy said if I didn’t want him to dump me, sex had to happen. He didn’t go to high school. It happened. In your basement, next to the organ. Organs. He went to jail. For pistol-whipping an undercover cop.

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FIRST LOVE | XV Override the daystar my wolfteets Fill the blouse in the dressing room Of Forever 21 in the dressing room Of Urban Outfitters in the dressing Room of bison shooters everywhere In sunk graves of ivy in Evergreen Cemetery or a pregnant human In the snowdrift carved in antler Of reindeer or normal deer and you Can always tell which headstones Were made in the 90s by the font And the tackiness and yes I guess The date but for the abnormal girl Of the snowcliff the tusks was enough Was portable too out of enclosure On the crunchy ground and there Were doves and monkeys and the Fish in trenches stayed in trenches Her on the white hills or her in the Dampish cave and us in the dummy Town on top of the used tire mountain Almost having collapsed in the truck For we were hangry and unable to find The airfield at Elko Tract which begat Dogs and a lit stage of poinsettias with the Red blue yellow corner of a papier-mâché crèche Sticking out of the church closet while The town turns and gasps Did you Forget you envelopes??! Is this your First time here??? This is church or It is Olive Garden ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I am in this For the blood taste of things and not just For finding money on the ground

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FIRST FUCK | XV This poet I slept with gave me Rimbaud’s Illuminations, the Ashbery one, And wrote, in Portugese, It’s not enough to be in love With your Self, Young-Girl And then suddenly I Was sleeping w/ another poet and he corrected Like 30 poems w/ red pen and Basically wrote nothing This was years ago Probably before you knew me He told me to list things in threes, so now I don’t, I wont, I can’t, I’m gay

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IT’S TRASH NIGHT, | XVI she said. I’m taking myself out. It’s been years since I’ve heard the wild green parrots blurring over the city and cried suddenly overcome by their misfitted lives. I don’t know why I told you no when I otherwise turned toward everything, except I couldn’t have admitted then your possibility, misplaced and wrongwise charmed, no vagrant creature within me resilient enough to insist.

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IN WHAT WORLD | XVI can a person not “have eros.” Everybody wants. The haunts we linger in fill up with simple howls at times. You must have been there. The halls astounded, rebounding our variegated noise. We sometimes exhaust the topic, is all. We dither desire until we smooth too many of its runcled pixels. The tip jar quivers in the steam leaking from the dishwasher. The glasses abound. Another poet approaches the spot where the mic is not, sways as he quotes from tough documents. We talk about how we hate money unless it’s slipped into our bras. Please touch our fur. Under the mural the microphone alone is both erosless and nonexistent. We have heard the story, we half-remember. We’ve known most of this before.

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WAY IN | XVII only when we shed our clothes can we begin to pray with legs apart astride solitude and noon-colored love adrift in and mirrored in the light of your thighs your addictive dance in search of infinity you touch me everywhere

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CONTRIBUTOR KEY I| II | III | IV | V| VI | VII | VIII | IX | X| XI | XII | XIII | XIV | XV | XVI | XVII |

P.E. GARCIA KAY GABRIEL PAIGE TAGGART NICO AMADOR JULIANA REYES CAMARA BROWN FAYE CHEVALIER LAUREN YATES HANNA ANDREWS CHRISTY DAVIDS JASON MITCHELL BARRY GRASS DARLA HIMELES MIRIAM KARRAKER SARAH RUPP SHANNA COMPTON UCHE NDUKA

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ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

We would like to thank— Patrick Blagrave for his editorial eyes, Zeynep Beler for providing us with a lovely cover, Leslie at L’Etage for her hospitality, and the Philadelphia poetry community for being our home.

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Co-Editors Jaclyn Sadicario | Alina Pleskova

Managing Editor Laura Blagrave

Editorial Intern Gabrielle Bauman

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fall 2016  
fall 2016  
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