Control Literary Magazine
Issue 4 February 2015
Edited by: Annabelle Edwards, Allison Friske, Raven Eckman, Annie Robertson, Chaz Josephs, Tracey Parker, and Chelsey Clammer
Collection Copyright 2015 By Control Literary Magazine
All rights reserved by the original authors
Permission must be granted by original contributors
Fonts: Kaiti, Georgia, Monotype Corsiva
Cover and back photo: Annabelle Edwards Back cover effect: plastic wrap
It's been a rough winter for us all. But the best writing is produced in times of distress. This is evident in the fourth issue of Control Lit.
Thank you so much for submitting and reading. All of us appreciate your continued support.
We will be reopening submissions for issue five and beyond very soon.
Have a swell spring.
Sincerely, Annabelle Edwards & Allison Friske
Contents Len Lawson Laura Creste Keegan Lester Felino A. Soriano Niall Rasputin Rachel Mindell Keegan Lester Finola Scott Michael Burrows John Yamrus Laura Creste Felino A. Soriano John Yamrus Rachel Mindell Nicholas Grider Anna Binkovitz Joanna Rutter Felino A. Soriano John Grey Joanna Rutter Keegan Lester Laura Creste Anna Binkovitz Niall Rasputin Contributor Bios
mosquito music A florist is another kind of butcher Poem to Los Angeles antecedent a harmony of broken dolls Exits Poem to Amelia: ... Heroes Hard Boiled La Nuestra Senora de la Merced 6:10 am Half Bad By Fire Deer variances of ending ON THE REAPPEARANCE OF AN OLD LOVE A Heavy Set of Words Poem to Providence... Self-aggrendizement of Confession... Wishes for the Post-Apocalypse what happened was
5 6 7 9 10 11 12 13 14 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 29 31 32 33 35
mosquito music Len Lawson he lulled me to sleep with his song the steady vibration of a banjo string delivered inches away from my ear a sagging note weighed down by the slow pace of country living when the music stops my applause from my hand to my neck ends his one-man show who was too drunk off his own melody to escape crimson notes from his sheet music splattered drops in my palm collected from the hearts of more country music fans mingled with mine when I heard another winged banjo player twanging closely his haunting urged me to swat around my head not allowing this rusty tune to penetrate the lingering solo I don't wonder why mosquitoes buzz in people's ears I know why
A florist is another kind of butcher Laura Creste Lilac cut fresh from the bough is hung to dry like meat, spun on white thread. Or closed in a book, it spoils the pulp of paper -I write to say when I was young my father rolled a chicken egg over my belly as a gypsy cure for nausea, drawing me through the brittle shell into jelly. I already hated my round body which would never lie flat as my sister’s packet of flesh apportioned wisely, without excess. The egg – should it crack or carry what is vile? He forgot and so thwacked it in the garbage for good measure. I learn to accept love in whatever form it takes as I remember or absorb my mother’s memory of flashlight rooting through the trees to find a raccoon violating a nest, the filched eggs shelled in his teeth. I know this part of memory is my own, unstolen: the mother bird screamed for a few night hours then quieted.
Poem to Los Angeles Keegan Lester like the act of drawing in or finding that you’ve been eating the last three years from a condemned kitchen. i wanted to love your stomach. for you to touch me here, here and here. i want to break book spines together in the bathroom stall of a seedy dance club. i want all of your snowy pharmaceutical dust and the ilk of people that dream on it, to sleep on it. there isn’t enough to float us, because what really wants to sink, sinks. i have trouble believing in what is depicted through black and white film to have been real, which is why i so often lean on Tarantino’s translations of history. i was born closer to the year 1967 than today, and i will only grow further from you. i fell for Mélanie Laurent last night again as she scaled your billboards and roller skated your majestic hotel lobbies crying through cigarette smoke. who isn’t fascinated by fireworks. i love taco carts and glamour. i love anything we can put on, where we both come out looking new. i’ve heard you’ve a hilltop from which mars looks so lovely, 7
people disassociate their xenophobia with the term martians. we all need to begin with implausibility, i wanted to tell you over the phone the night i found out MĂŠlanie was married. i still have the pornography of you locked away in my head and some nights i thumb it out before bed when i close my eyes. i fast forward to the shot of the tilt your head makes, a blue planet on itâ€™s axis. the tilt where your eyes reveal you. reveal youâ€™re not there, and neither am i. that we are really both stand-ins for someone else. this is where i wrap myself in blankets of ocean: prepare myself for sharks and stingrays, for the all the moments twiggy and sparse that have not arrived yet.
antecedent Felino A. Soriano in my oscillating hand scattered/spread, an asymmetry across my good-side secretive-keeping palm a contoured box softened by the warmth of nervous friction its holding holds a hanker, unrecognizable yet solid in the formation of purpose and exaltation of slim features . . . my language widens into holding a solitary query expanding into tableaus of possible interaction will when why and within the final skeletal syllable in its exiting of future silence a waiting occurs, willing and wandering until the moment expands into subsequent endeavors of splayed interactions
Niall Rasputin a harmony of broken dolls
Exits Rachel Mindell In the story, my mother spills a tray of spaghetti at her first dinner service. The dame’s white satin dress is splattered to gore while in his opera-bound tuxedo her man who is bulbous and too enraged to scream rises but my mother has already hit it for the kitchen door, never to return and never to wait another table. My quitting fantasies are multiple, including one where I hoist a tray full with some large table’s burgers and walk by through the front exit, proceeding for miles without blinking, a tray on my shoulder and an apron on my hips at the I-10East entrance. Or the time I stick my pointer finger in the guest’s shrimp soup and lick it tableside to verify spice level or the occasion I arrive with the sorority’s cocktails and slam all twelve drinks like shots in seconds while they gawk and photograph themselves. When Diane blew the cafe, she was already wearing her bike helmet and she carried a lunch box, as she said with a smile seven times to seven tables, “I’m sorry to interrupt just wanted you to know that I’m quitting right now because the owner of this shit hole is a fucking bitch. Enjoy your meal.”
Poem to Amelia: when you asked do you have to be sad to write poetry and I said no, but I have to have learned something!!! Keegan Lester i’m watching the direction your knees are pointing. when i was young it was the act of praying to something foreign. i’m trying to thank you. i’m waiting on a text message. i’m trying to figure out what the other three signs were, walking balmy lanterned morgantown bridges. it looks more west virginia here tonight than ever. i had to relearn everything after i stopped drinking. i’ve reclaimed verbs that deal with want and confusion. you drove an hour back from wheeling, the day we met. later on the phone you said it was because you were horny, but i like to think teen movies and romance. that everything rustling in the bushes is a ghost, fox or beer can. i haven’t told you yet but i don’t have tattoos because i hate what needles are capable of, in most contexts. you kissed me and my brain rewired into sliced pears gainy, looking for what exists not what could and i still have some relearning to do. i’m translating what is between lines and what is vinyl static from the other side of the room. i’m not wondering what love is or knowing but thinking i want to bake chocolate coconut brownies with you. talk about the weather at my table over daises and breakfast. have you ever held a baby duck in your hands? you probably shouldn’t, but one time I did, and it was nothing like holding a child. a ring of ducks surrounded me and for the first time I had a sense of my own mortality. we call ourselves milk because what else can bloom from two kids who are lactose intolerant like milk? i’ve had to relearn to talk to friends and how to sleep next to strangers. the yellow and green flecks in your eyes are not cascading, the direction doing something else. they stop me every time i look.
Heroes Finola Scott Lone Ranger, Batman, Zorro we were them all. We’d gallop the bombsite prairies hunting varmints, in sweet grass as high as our eyes. We’d hitch ourselves and picnic on our strange canvas blanket. Full of adventure we thought nothing of the sour smell we lay on -a half moon of khaki. Later I learned it was Dad’s standard issue army cape. It sheltered him from dune winds and winter bite, protected him from Africa through Italy. But in the lea of Cassino’s bristling Mount it let him down. The soft underbelly proved too tough. Exposed in freezing mud he heard talk of priests, paintings and pledges. Through shrouds of snow he felt the medieval monastery shudder to shocked surrender betrayed by pride and promises. The sludge cape lies useless now. Its rubber backing perished like old comrades and childhood innocence.
Hard Boiled Michael Burrows Blood tastes tangy iron in my mouth. There’s an orchestra practicing simultaneous symphonies against my temple. Here’s another morning waking to cobwebbed eyes. My bones feel crotchety old in their wrinkled bag- rebelling wildly against all impulses to rise. I mutter apologies to whichever vengeful God I slighted, and try to remember the events that led me to this Hell. My memory is blank, and the increasingly irritated school ma’am leading my brain in its early morning lessons seems to tap the very blankness of the board and screech, yes screech, the harpy, what goes here? God. Coffee. And Death: hot, and fast, and now. I screw my eyelids tight and breathe deep in the pulsing dark and think, and try, to remember. There was her. She. Who walks now into the noir lit office of my memories like some bright sun shining wholesome on frozen dead boughs. She’s the beautiful that dreams are built from, and I screw tight my minds eye against her splendor and whimper into the terror of my hangover. All leg, all doe eyes, and all that hair; blood spilling hair, hair like the deepest depths of space itself- the faintest hint of life, and the promise of punishing, instant death. To what lengths had my madness plunged me? I lift my guilty hands for proof and ceaseless blood thumps sickeningly against the backs of my eyes. I groan, and pull thick covers tighter and hide my bloody red hands deep in the anonymity of bed sheets. The gaping black hole of last night is a pistol barrel against my forehead, and, gulping, I search for an answer. I remember, I think, the offer of a case and the thrill of searching- and I, one or two sheets-to-the-wind from my drawer of spirits, jumping eagerly at the chance, leaping at the opportunity of hard fact. controllitmag
I turn, under mountainous sheets, and bury my face in pillow. I took the case because of a need to understand, a sickening doubt tapping always on the windows of my ego, leering in at my shameless attempts at happiness. I clawed, childlike, at the chance to seek harsh truth. Oh and who doesn’t love pulling tight their cloak against the early evening chill, lowering their head into the hair flickering wind and tucking hands in pockets to seek personal justice? God damn you fate and beauty and all manner of art; let me suffer this defeat quietly and end my suffering quickly if I am truly to be sacrificed to learning. Slowly, it creeps back to me, memories of lost hours sneaking back into the light like naughty schoolchildren afraid of a scolding. My ruined mansion of a mind distracts me, and the phone that cracked the case is sitting there amongst the bills and reports and lost months and weeks- I don’t recognise its importance for a millisecond of selfrighteous whimpering, and then the full weight comes crashing down like filing cabinets of missed clues and coincidences until I am trapped under tonnes of piled up evidence. I remember. Picture perfect and static free, cracking open the safe of her log-in screen and eagerly drowning in her private back and forth, reading and rereading messages not meant for me- the lines projected on my scanning eyes like the light of truth pouring through the weary blinds of my smudged glass world. These private eyes of mine reading fully the proof of their infidelity, and some part of me rejoicing in knowing that my deepest, darkest beliefs held true. And ultimately, the sting of eyes and tinny roar in my sinuses, like the coal dark morning I am suffering through, that told me, proved to me, yes, you sucker, she’s cheatin’ on you. The remembering hits me like a train, spearing my stomach through my clumsily arranged childish fortress against the morning’s heat and pain. There is vomit thick again in my mouth at the thought of it, and my fists tingle with the memory of bruised flesh. I must have crept up on her, flashlight drawn, the truth fully loaded and heavy in my jacket pocket, and in the ecstasy of uncovered secrets, not noticed the dark shadows loom behind me, blocking the exits. I remember too well the gleam in her eye as she finally admitted the truth, and her femme fatale smile, and, well done you for finally figuring it out. 15
I turned; and the bruises on my face, the dark stains on my kidneys like baseball mitts, the cracked wheezing of my ribs corroborate; I stared up at these two hulking lugs of meat: her infidelity and my stupidity, and probably welcomed the first ham sized fist against my jaw. Hit me, you sons of bitches. Spitting teeth I would have laughed in their faces until I could no longer laugh, would have broken, like a wine glass smashing against her Persian rug beauty, and spilling, staining, my red wine blood on her carefully constructed, bleached clean world of lies. Oh sure, I remember everything under these black sheets, and scream into the silence of my pillows and donâ€™t even care that my mind is boiling liquid inside my skull. Unloaded, I collapse into the dark sleep of unknowing. I want only to wake to nothingness and dream of winning dames with charm and snappy back-and-forth. But this is a solo story, with a lonely protagonist: spitting chips, hunting truth, loyal to the green in my hands and the promise in her eyes and the red of bright lipstick in a black and white world. Telling lies, doll, telling lies.
John Yamrus charley had bad teeth and had never been in love. he drank red wine in the morning, and hated having to go to work. the gun was convenient.
La Nuestra Señora de la Merced (Barcelona – Paris, 2014) Laura Creste Fish lie fat and obvious on beds of ice, gray tongues extruding from teeth. The briny air sickens Claire at the Harlequin carnival where the butchers dress as clowns in the meat markets of the gothic quarter. While I slept she says someone licked a line of cream off of tits on cable television. She is “disenchanted” with Barcelona save for the bread served with a seedy tomato spread. We never eat a real dinner but pick each other’s bones to be more specific. How to live without needing so much always. If the eternal return is a comfort: what you fear has already happened. It’s not: the lived experience is all. Our old argument resettles, rough as salt in a hot glass is managed by agitation. We enter a cathedral where the saints are locked in golden glory. I drop my smallest coin for a candle because ritual is a pleasure, even if faithless. The mother of mercy is crowned in her shadowbox by a cluster of eyeless angels. In the morning we fly. Claire affects an indifference to death until we sink into the catacombs of Paris. The bones drip clay-water and she walks like she isn’t breathing. I touch three skulls in the ossuary, my hand holding the curve all day. Claire walks like a girl walks alone at night. When I remind her of Orpheus’s end, how the maenads rend his limbs she says good, who would want to live through that. Out of the underworld the sun is dizzy in the white wine air. We blink back.
6:10 a.m. Felino A. Soriano emerging, as: do figurative fingers through an interpretive open window,â€”
hands portraying humanityâ€™s sounds diving into a discovery of multilingual discussionâ€” theater of grass, stone, hands (manus) amalgamating, animated
Half Bad Rachel Mindell I have half-blood of my Finnish kin, their sledding dogs and gypsy tongue. I find myself fuming vodka out the sauna. I tickle ladies but don’t indulge the strike of birch. From them also: fits and fish soup; all degrees of climate-inspired madness, including ambition, wandering—lusty ice swims at midnight rainbow—above all, Uncle Arnie who drank himself near blind. I boast a horror of herding, antler span, also rope like Kai used penniless in Duluth after hockey practice. The hand that loosens the noose is left to the falling. An age of payments on credit! I shall never love any winter again. Winter is a note that read: life is complicated, feed Sam. But who gave me so exhibitionist an art that it has pulled back all curtains on my maternal family’s polar days in which two hours only evade blackness? I’ve followed my fickle gut across the country, living in phases as mole and mister. Nosing with ink my scarce view of world. I owe everything to each sun’s blank. Now I have come to this Montana and I will bed its women.
Nicholas Grider health class filmstrip sodomy artsy/grainy and you reveal no forgiveness on use value, no giftshop miniature rainbow coda, your highlight history isn’t yours, your silence is a rental, waiting means wandering, you’re still waiting for balagan dreams brightly lit, what you lay down upon will heal you and where you are is stranger
there’s no filmstrip: “Today’s life lesson is from the country in the world a little south of here known as Apology, you were there once on a student visa eavesdropping on the locals talking about moonlight and horseshit and how to maneuver” & how to build an exit instead of sputtering wandering is there a candle somewhere in you despite orders against saying everything is going to be okay, sincerity––herein your sincerity is verboten, begin again and yes one person loved you, trade routes lead there, speech therapy was sport, apology was mute button instead of shlecht tell it like it is and you only know what’s between sport and speech and say nothing only you listen in, now you’re a bleeding tongue pressed to clenched teeth
your language isn’t yours, never was, grants amnesty, glows in the dark
By Fire Anna Binkovitz At another L.A. loft, he is smoking by the window. The sun sits in the sky like the butt of his bic lighter, and this glass has always made him feel important, bigger somehow. And as he sucks in the smoke, he is there, at the center of the sun’s refracting, and it’s like he’s done it, sucked the ember into his own pit- no, he is the ember. Across the world, every smoker becomes a cigarette, but in the Hollywood hills, it takes longer for the women in the sauna to notice. They are baking themselves, like cakes to be presented at their lovers’ tables, when the waxy candles of lipstick start to melt; lotion, like frosting, drips to the floor. Hair starts to smoke, and the fire alarms would be going off, if the wires hadn’t fused together. At the beach, swimmers debate between sushi and burgers, when the choice is made for them. There is no more raw fish in the sea: every tuna and tadpole has been cooked in a salt solution, so it’s burgers for lunch I guess, but as the waitress walks towards us she slips on the melt of every ketchup bottle. And we are all cigarettes, all trashcan fires, all overcooked pasta, boiling on the stove as the apartment burns.
Deer Joanna Rutter In evening fog, a shadow tenses to hear intruders. All night, it has cut through darkness, when suddenly fear and wonder meet in our eyes. I am given a gracious moment of consideration. In it I wonder: How can I have more of the spirit than you? I, who never chose careful and silent paths across the grass? I, who never paused to consider goodness, one foot hovering? I, who never listened?
variances of ending This hour has the shape of a pause… —Octavio Paz, Trowbridge Street Felino A. Soriano my clarifications of ceasing: the hyper-closed edge of a notion’s misstated nervousness— contamination’s clarity within the spectral hands of a hoping epitome and offspring of ongoing echoes—
later hand washed
as to behave toward the belief of another’s limited rendition, preferences of our dialogue amid shadow and the softened singing of voice belonging to the freedom of a dying veneration or related antiphony— and to alter the query of who cares? to answer equates abandoning the focal concentration self is the important craft of consecrated trivia, puzzling as antecedents’ causational fruition of livable maneuvers collapsing amid the body’s shedding of toxic revelations
ON THE REAPPEARANCE OF AN OLD LOV E John Grey gun-grey road leads to beach avenue, rocky, primitive shore â€” listen, the miles that truck has seen, down interstates, almost home, ripping rubber, bleeding fumes long ago, when you rushed off to school it is the same hour but years later â€” you walked with Dickens tucked under your arm and Miss Havisham whispered in your ear be cruel Estella, be cold the same truck rumbling by firmly, coffee grips the soul and away there was your cheek close to the wind and I was Pip, innocent in love and wise in survival and here you are, elbows on my kitchen table, eyes red, body limp, like you've been lying on the road he left you so that's it no, you don't look like you've been run over by a truck but I wouldn't put it past you.
A heavy set of words Joanna Rutter This is a poem about every person. The weight of existence presses in on me. I can push it out with music for a while, but not forever. To live is to be heavy with humanity. Grocery list: A baby is born. My friend’s grandmother dies. My brother goes to college. My father goes to work. A startup business fails. A blip pings on a radar. A leaf falls to the ground in my backyard. You blink. Keep moving or die; adapt or go extinct. You do have a choice. To live is to avoid death by changing. I applaud the founders of organizations and the inventors of gadgets: they keep us moving. They keep us from thinking of death. They build empires so they can crumble. It’s very diverting. I’ve never cared to build an empire. It’s much simpler to water grass and watch it die. The subway churns past the homeless men sleeping in the shadows. The policeman will come and wake them and make them find new shadows. This makes him a good policeman. This makes them bad people. I wonder where the other shadows are. I have smelled the perfume of death in New York: Puffs of secondhand cigarettes from coffee lips, A brisk chill blowing the stench of metal stained with the urine of schizophrenics. My friend looks out at the city safely from the 54th floor, and I ride an elevator down into the world. A man in the Columbus Circle tunnel is hungry and lonely. I don’t want to be here anymore. When I make eye contact with the woman sitting next to me, I invite her out of the background and into my reality. A man says “Bless you” when I sneeze. We are doing very dangerous things here. To live is to be heavy with existence. Humanity hangs on you and follows you. 27
Babies are born. Grandmothers die. That man is still hungry. Donâ€™t think about it too much, or you will suffocate. Play a game on your phone, get a job, save up, grow old. It is much easier than thinking about this poem. Keep moving. That is all.
Poem to Providence and To Adele Bloch-Bauer!!! Keegan Lester stolen by Nazis, decorated with fists of decadent colored floating mitochondria, with all of the golden lockets of Europe melted down, after suing and suing the Austrian government she sold the portrait of her grandmother for 135 million. I want to love you like that. a story whose resolution disappoints. where you can’t help but wonder what rings from the diaphragm of a bell and for whom it rings. together we find a way to say that less Hemingway, and thus the revision is intrinsically more Hemingway in disposition, but impotence far less a factor. we focus on what has not yet readied itself. I ask: where do you go when you sleep? Will you take me with you in a brown sack lunch on the field trip, all overt structure of the public education system ebbing away, where you can snack on me whenever you damn feel like it. what we really want is what we want until what we do not expect happens. America is a fucking powerhouse of that. I took too much adderall last night. I watched a documentary. you don’t want to get caught on the high seas with someone pissing in the wind, I’m paraphrasing Ira Glass, 29
because who doesn’t at a party. I seek out the person that doesn’t and he paraphrases Malcom Gladwell. we say similar things differently, for different kinds of attractive people we hope to sleep with or next to, and so begins the sport of awkward hand gestures in a room dizzy with apples and peanut butter, before we know where we are supposed to go next. unlearning is a kind of learning, but harder to do. this was all before we knew Pet Sounds was capable of melting entire landscapes. no photograph of the Grand Canyon is really a photograph of the Grand Canyon, but the beginning of a story someone’s struggling to tell you. I woke alone in Providence the day after the night the world was supposed to end. I’m convinced I’ve stopped hurting through my kidneys, liver and the magic of mayan calendars. I’m convinced when it storms, I find ways.
Self-aggrandizement of Confession: One Hangover, ft. Foucault For decades now we have found it difficult to speak on the subject without striking a pose: we are conscious of defying established power, our tone of voice knows that we are being subversive and we ardently conjure away the present and appeal to the future, whose day will be hastened by the contribution we believe we are making. - Michel Foucault, History of Sexuality Vol. 1
Laura Creste Wanting to be clinical after my ex called me a cunt, I pulled Foucault from a dusty crowd at Shakespeare & Co. As if the History of Sexuality offered absolution for transgressions with friends. I’d lost interest in an epistle that went Dear ___, I’m sorry I hurt you. It was never about you Dear ___, I was drunk Dear ___, He didn’t make me come but he did drive me home with a kindly kiss on the mouth and no promise to call I read it aloud to a friend who demurred You take your life too seriously. Dear ___, when you call me a slut I take it as a dare – which is how I found myself on the floor of a French restaurant after hours with the waiter, who filled my cup and kissed like a cat, like the middle school boyfriend I never did have. He served me a heart on a plate. It was too embarrassing to ignore. At the hotel with my friend, waking nearly naked in our bed, we laughed ourselves sick dressing for breakfast, and couldn’t look at the early morning diners with their eggs and hardboiled eyes. One day I’d like to say I don’t care and mean it, expansive as giving the last bite. While Foucault wilts in a bath, I think sex should by now be unremarkable but the telling is still half the fun. The bathroom volleys sunlight back, to the head of the Sorbonne in the distance goldly anchoring my roiling hair. When a child asked if I believed in mermaids I said yes the cure for seasickness is to jump in the sea.
Wishes for the Post-Apocalypse Anna Binkovitz Please, invent heartbreak, as if your parents had not already seen it in the flesh- the earth, ripping herself open at the betrayal of us, her lovers. Make the first pen- show ink how to dance and slide along metal. I want you to know the lust of creationinvent lust, as it invented you, the new fervor to bring a spark from the wet of your mother in this world rung dry of our tears. Invent me too- us, the ones who will have done all of this for you, who rip off our own arms, who offer our bodies to the hungry bird of apocalypse. Itâ€™s not that we want to die. We have become too adept at recording our inventions, we know how little there is left to orchestrate but our own destruction. So please, do not invent memory. Invent revelation- every day reinvent it. Be a happy god on its first day of creation.
what happened was Niall Rasputin we were lounging in the vine garden playfully debating the sharpness of Christâ€™s canine teeth and whether Adam and Eve would have had bellybuttons when the dread vision struck without warning you melted into the black iron bench like a wet witch I was stricken assaulted by an alien consciousness a parasitic barb sunken into the red flesh of my weary soul gauzy ringlets of bruised sound coiled around my awkward windpipe like serpentine seduction suddenly there hovering before me was a caustic seraph composed of pulsing kaleidoscopic light I was mesmerized by her eyes two little bee hive nebulae shifting reflections of wings in flux tangerine jewels emerald green grass on a windy day a manic smile bloomed upon her rabid wine colored lips expanding until it became a monstrous alligator mouth that enveloped my existence consumed by this wraith of my own mind I fell and fell down her gullet an elevator shaft with moist pink walls and landed, here, in this rotten moment constantly touching the knife in my boot, choking a portly man dressed as a giant teddy bear 33
while a red bearded fiend mouth sewn shut blinks Morse code distress signals with cobalt blue eyes I donâ€™t know who I am anymore there are no familiar voices calling me from this hungry darkness there are no street signs pointing the way back home
Len Lawson is a finalist for the 2015 inaugural Berfrois Poetry Prize. He has an M.A. in English from National University near San Diego, CA, and teaches writing at Morris College in Sumter, SC. His poems have appeared or will appear in Rolling Thunder, The Southern Tablet, Control, NYSAI Press, Pamplemousse, and Jasper.
Laura Creste is an MFA candidate in poetry at New York University and a graduate of Bennington College. She has written for Full Stop, Bustle, and elsewhere. She lives in Rutherford, New Jersey.
Keegan Lester is a poet living in Brooklyn, New York. His work has been published in The Adroit Journal, The Atlas Review, The Barn Owl Review, CutBank, PowderKeg, Blunderbuss, Phantom Limb, Inter|rupture, InDigest, The Journal and BOAAT among others. He is the poetry editor and cofounder of the journal souvenir: http://souvenirlit.squarespace.com/. He tweets from @keeganmlester.
Felino A. Soriano is a member of The Southern Collective Experience. He is the founding editor of the online endeavors Counterexample Poetics and Of/with; in addition, he is a contributing editor for the online journal, Sugar Mule. His writing finds foundation in created coรถccurrences, predicated on his strong connection to various idioms of jazz music. His poetry has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net Anthology, and appears in various online and print publications, with recent poetry collections including Mathematics (Nostrovia! Poetry, 2014), Espials (Fowlpox Press, 2014), and watching what invents perception (WISH Publications, 2013). He lives in California with his wife and family and is a director of supported living and independent living programs providing supports to adults with developmental disabilities. Links to his published and forthcoming poems, books, interviews, images, etc. can be found at www.felinoasoriano.info.
Niall Rasputin lives in a little log cabin deep in the Piney Woods of SE Texas. He makes weird art, writes poetry, stories, music and screenplays. He's had some luck with getting his work published and optioned.
Rachel Mindell is an MFA candidate in poetry and MA candidate in English Literature at the University of Montana. Her chapbook, A Teardrop and a Bullet, will be released in 2015 by Dancing Girl Press. Individual poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Horse Less Review, DESTROYER, Yemassee, Anti-, Cream City Review, inter|rupture, and elsewhere.
Happily retired Finola Scott enjoys cooking. eating, blethering & occasionally exercising. Her writing has appeared in anthologies, magazines & has been in national competitions. She love adventures, even little ones. Recently moved to Edinburgh she now enjoys living in the city sheâ€™s visited for years. Performance Poetry allows her to be terrified in a safety of cosy pubs. Playing Mahjong and counting her granddaughterâ€™s smiles helps her recover.
Michael Burrows is a writer and poet from Perth, Western Australia, with a love of words, the Second World War and romance. His work has previously been published in the journals Aurealis, dotdotdash, Voiceworks and Trove. He currently eats, sleeps, breathes and writes in London.
Since 1970 John Yamrus has published 2 novels and 22 volumes of poetry. He has also had nearly 1,700 poems published in print magazines around the world. Selections of his work have been translated into several languages, most recently, Romanian. His latest book is ALCHEMY. His website: http://www.johnyamrus.com/index.html
Nicholas Grider's first book, the story collection Misadventure (A Strange Object) was longlisted for the Frank O'Connor Prize, and he is also the author of the experimental book Thirty Pie Charts (Gauss PDF) and a forthcoming chapbook under an assumed name from Imipolex. His work has appeared in Caketrain, Conjuctions, DIAGRAM, and elsewhere, and he's a contributing writer at both Entropy and The Fanzine.
Anna Binkovitz is a traveling poet based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. She has competed on several tournament finals stages in her career, and her work can be found in Drunk in AMidnight Choir, Voicemail Poems, and others. Anna enjoys mac n cheese and drinking wine in the bathtub. annabinkpoetry.tumblr.com
Joanna Rutter works in nonprofit communications and is currently working on a collection of short stories. She is still not sure what she wants to be when she grows up, but hopes it involves a kayak. You can follow her snarky copy edit tweets at @jo_rutter.
John Grey is an Australian born poet. Recently published in Slant, Southern California Review and Skidrow Penthouse with work upcoming in Bryant Literary Magazine, Natural Bridge and Soundings East.
Len Lawson Laura Creste Keegan Lester Felino A. Soriano Niall Rasputin Rachel Mindell Finola Scott Michael Burrows John Yamrus Nicholas Grider Anna Binkovitz Joanna Rutter John Grey