Issue IV April 2018
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
When I Found Out Your Wife was Preg-
nant, You Said My First Actual Child
Mark J. Mitchell D.I.V.O.R.C.E.
Zackary Lavoie [Featured Poet]
i say “tree”
young poet with a stutter gives it a shot anyway
I am a failed artist
Charles K Frempong-Longdon
Slice of Heaven
Here’s the Poem I Am Sick of Hearing
Sara Trattner Coloma
Elaine Nadal Danger
The Refugee Experience: Computer Pop-ups
CATCH AND RELEASE
Leroy Bean iTrap
Zackary Lavoie Zack Lavoie graduated from the University of Maine at Farmington and is the author of the chapbook UPHEAVALS (Pond Bench Press). He was awarded the 2017 Alice James Books Director’s Chair Fellowship in Farmington, Maine, where he lives. He is a feedback editor at Sooth Swarm Journal, and works as an ESL editor for a global trading platform. His work can be found in Empty Mirror Magazine, OCCULUM Journal, Dirty Paws Poetry Review, Longleaf Review, and on the ‘memoria’ podcast. When he isn’t writing he can be found wandering along the Sandy River, heeding every call from his Guinea Pig, or singing alongside his girlfriend.
i say “tree” Zackary Lavoie
& i mean old growth. i mean chunks of alabaster pillars stacked on top of one another & they topple & push the air out from underneath in deafening exhales. i mean living in otherwise divine discontent & needing no temple to pray. i mean dissatisfied with flesh. every morning i wake to the sound of them loosing their pinecone arrows & i mean massive fletchers with bottomless quivers offering bits of themselves back to the earth. i mean unselfish & stoic bones. i mean itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not all bad. i mean tributaries of sunlight dripping onto my face. i mean bending to hold any sort of weight without dropping it & i mean holding it until the limb snaps. i mean tire swing & hiding place. a lesson to be climbed up and fallen out of. i mean dying half the year but never going anywhere. i mean swelling whispers into howls & dancing to both. what use are my hands if not to press against the softened bark of a breathing monolith.
young poet with a stutter gives it a shot anyway (aloud)
i am trying//i am trying i am trying i am trying/to create/to create a pronounceable pharaoh.//produce a whirring whale/watch a wagon waddle on cobble/canto a crash of culture.//snowmelt subtly spreads/s/ spreads//spreads/through the strata.//hunch over hypostatic hitchhikers/rocking in holy conversation.//can you/be//believe how brutal/breath//breathing planets can be when they sneeze.//eatable//edible/e/eelgrass.// hyperostotic bull back on his hooves.//why can’t i slow/why can’t i slow/why can’t i stop stopping/stop starting/start popping/stop preening/start stasis.//tense tangled syllables/stuck pushed/up a//against/blossoms of egret crests.//ghosts//ts/ts.//tender words/caught in a knit net.//censored shards/broken in split sets.//so tired/of not being able to describe//drowsy drumsticks//ruddy beak.//dear god, let /let me//let me//speak.
has completed the following poetic checklist in no particular order: Slam teams. Journal publications â&#x20AC;&#x201C; literary and journalistic. Poetry event organizer. College degree. MFA in poetry. Two-time winner of the Columbus Arts Festival poetry competition. Full-length book (The Naming Of, Brick Cave Media). Trouble sleeping. Tries to be nice. Loves biking and swimming. Hates running. Does it anyway. Good at word games. Loves her two kids all the time. All the time.
is a poet and student from the Cleveland area, currently residing in Columbus. Her work has previously been featured in Bop Dead City, Gyroscope Review, Mad Swirl, Heartbeat, and Imitation Fruit. She is overjoyed to have had her poem find a home here at Flypaper.
is a writer and educator. She holds a masterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s degree in liberal studies from Wesleyan University. She also has degrees in Spanish secondary education and fine arts (music). A Pushcart nominee, she has been published in several journals, including Pilgrimage Magazine, Haight Ashbury Literary Journal, Arsenic Lobster, and La Casita Grande Lounge.
was born in Sofia, Bulgaria and is working on an MFA in Creative Nonfiction at Goucher College with previous publications in both Timber Journal and Cal Literary Arts Magazine.
is from Flint, MI and currently lives in Detroit, where she is a Writer in Residence with Inside Out Literary Arts Project.
Mark J. Mitchell
His latest novel, The Magic War just appeared from Loose Leaves Publishing. He studied writing at UC Santa Cruz under Raymond Carver and George Hitchcock. His work has appeared in the several anthologies and hundreds of periodicals. He lives with his wife, the activist Joan Juster and makes a living pointing out pretty things in San Francisco.
was born in Cincinnati and received an MFA in Creative Writing at Miami University (Oxford, Ohio). Erinâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s fiction and poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in Flash Frontier, After the Pause, The Airgonaut, Into the Void, Mount Analogue, The Aquarian, Canary, The Evansville Review, Former Cactus, Foilate Oak Literary, and Blue River Review.
Charles K Frempong-Longdon
is a poet and first generation American based out of Minneapolis, MN. He is the youngest of 4 children and the only child of Ghanaian parents to be born in the U.S. He is currently a member of Bosso Poetry out of St. Paul, MN.
is a single mom of two kids and three dogs, which come first in bio as in life; is also a writer, editor and project manager. Her family settled in Columbus, Ohio two years ago and she adores three of its seasons.
is the author of the chapbooks All in the Family (Bottlecap Press) and The Violence Within (Flutter Press) and is an MFA candidate at Queens University of Charlotte. Her poetry is published or forthcoming in Public Pool, Rising Phoenix Review, The Legendary, Germ Magazine, Quail Bell Magazine, Brain Mill Press, Haunted Waters Press, and others. She loves nail polish, wine, and tattoos. Read her blog at www.wordperv.com, follow her on twitter: @wordperv, or find her on facebook: www.facebook.com/poetry.CourtneyLeBlanc.
is a spoken word artist from Dayton, Ohio and part of a poetry collective called Underdog Academy. Leroy is the University of Dayton’s 2017 LitFest poetry slam winner and was published in both Orpheus and Writ UD literary magazines with a touching review by Lily Hoang for his poem, “Hood Adjacent”. His chapbook “The Love and Theory of Womanology” was released in early 2018.
Snake Handler Louise Robertson
My brother said suicide is a trap door. I think itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s also like that snake he owned. If I kept a snake like that, it would stay still most of the time, there in its terrarium, hot lamp on warm rock. A coil. A braid. Sometimes I would drape it on my body. Let it shiv my back. A shotgun. A rope. The whole time venom collects in its teeth. He teases me with that thought. About the suicide door. That snakeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s mouth. How it might spring open and shut.
Money Louise Robertson
We used to be gold and blink. Then we were bent in half and half again -- clam shelled legs to chest and then our whole selves were folded on a sharp crease again. We were gentled into a wallet, slept between leather sheets. Sometimes we were soft from use, a limp cloth, muscles loose as after cancer. Now we are electric shock. Are buzz and battery. Are deletion. All blink and no gold.
Slice of Heaven Louise Robertson
If there is a heaven and if I get to go there, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d like to wear an onyx stud earring like the one that daily pierces the cartilage at the top on my left ear. And I hope I can eat curry there. And much, much, much, much later share it with my kids and talk into the night with them about soil, the ocean, bison, wolf teeth. And I hope I can see at least all the hot colors there. Points of fact might keep me out. The speeding. The cussing. Years of Diet Coke. All that fucking. And the atheism. So for now I will eat curry for dinner with my son and daughter as we watch the sunset spread its yolks and milk before us and I will walk all around this place with stud earrings in my ears glinting black and silver like itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s heaven itself right here.
Hereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s the Poem I Am Sick of Hearing Louise Robertson
The color of night in the dorm room was dark brown. Wood drawers. Wood table. Wood chair. Bark fabric cushion. I was so small I used a milk crate for a seat and the chair for a desk. His shoulder was a round mountain. He was football big. Not sure if he played. Sure I hadn’t said yes. There was no invitation. I don’t remember any smiles. Yes, I was drunk. And here I laid, under him, calculating that the fastest way out of this was through this. I studied the way the slope of his shirt moved. I have that shape in my set of constellations along with Orion and Virgo. That’s my poem to casual rape, to college party rape, to soft nos so porous they become gasoline draining into the sand. Could be water, gin, or blood. Same difference.
That was a long time ago. I now have a whole firmament of stalkers and harassers to ponder. But this, this I thought should be left in the mythology section of the library. And yet, I hear this poem at the open mic all the time. Not my poem, but it’s the same. Not how the slope of his shirt had a football shape. Not my dorm room, brown chair, open mouth night. These young women burn with a similar fuel. Sometimes they cook it into cake and eat it or they drink it down or they press it out or run or yell or sleep it off. Or they write a poem. So many poems. Every week. Feel sick to hear them. A shoulder filling up the view.
Drown It Louise Robertson
When you realize you do not love someone the way they want to be loved, that you never will, that you are thus an object of resentment, that you would someday like to love a person in exactly the right way, you must get out of love. Step one, remove the time spent. Let phone calls roll to voicemail. If there have been lunches, you are now too busy for lunches. After an afternoon on top of the blanket, messing around in the flickering shadows, from windows or from TVs, breathe and turn over, Offer neither mouth nor hand. This is step two: Give nothing of the body. Absolutely no foot massages. No back massages. No touches that find the braille of the scars and wrinkles. Don’t do that. And no tending to hair. No brush or comb or wash. No untangle of strands. Soon enough, you will decide it’s time for Step three. Almost done. Stay with it. Here goes. Remember not to say, “I love you, too.” You must vow never to say, “I love you, too” ever again. You press that back down into your throat into your stomach. Time. Body. Love. Drown it. Drown it. Drown it all.
Coloma Sara Trattner
i am hitchhiking to coloma, california. and maybe the goldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s all gone, but i need to know the way a truck sounds as its kickback exhales dust and desert. i am used to looking for the glint in abandoned places, know how to sift rock from reward. still, i have found myself in the passenger seat of a rusted pickup, with crossed fingers. hope to make it west enough to know what the name is for an almost-ghost-town, what the legend is worth between my fingers, chapped thumbs and all. i am a vagabond without the romance. i can call it what it is: fleeing on a whim. this is me betting on my own cautionary tale. this is me promising not to jump yet. not until i make it far enough down 49, to watch the sun set over a decaying mine. to run my fingers through the sand, and find anything still worth digging for.
Danger Elaine Nadal
Forget the labor pains, the double shifts, the first walk in the park, the first kiss. Such whiles ago, perhaps captured in photos: Paco in the park. Lucia jumping rope. Daughterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s daughter. Sonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s son. Working extra hours for spoons and plates embellished with gold. Eating steak and potatoes or chicken and yams, cooked to perfection for chewing and savoring: the caramelized yams, the dark and white meats, the medium rare steak-with its fat between the teeth-while throwing into the trash can or feeding to the dogs all that is left of the skin and bones.
NAJAC Elaine Nadal
Ramiro wanted the extra mile— nothing less. Work until the sun burns your face, until the mosquitos reject your blood— until you’re drenched in sweat, by the sweat of your brow. That’s what he wanted. If given anything less, you don’t eat. And sometimes, you get lashes— other times, a spit in the face. You’d never know what the consequence would be: a beating, an insult, starvation. The cane cutters didn’t want to find out— wanted to please. And when Ramiro gave a compliment, their faces lit up, as if they weren’t mistreated the day before. And they worked even harder to get that praise-- to feed their families, to indulge the Beast, working until fainting, working until forgetting. And after forgetting, remembering again and again. Sing. Cut. Dance. Cut. Laugh. Sing. Najac sang about the water, the sun, the sugar. He danced when covered with the sun’s rays. Aire. Agua. Sing. Dance. Cut. “¡A trabajar!” Ramiro scolded Najac and then spit in his face. The second time, he tore his shirt, tied his hands, and gave him twenty-two lashes, the number of his years. The sun hid, and Ramiro walked into the room with Tamara, Najac’s negrita. He pulled her hair, pushed her to the floor, and took possession of her body. Burn the fields! Let them burn! Najac didn’t stop singing after that. He wailed and whimpered melodies of blue-green hue until the morn-- when his voice was no longer heard. No one knew what happened to him. The cane cutters remembered his songs though. They sang them in secret. They knew they were fortunate. It was Najac who got caught. But the fields couldn’t be left barren. So they continued to sweat, dance, sing, cut... And many years later, so did Simón— Simón, the only son of Tamara, Simón, the man with voice and hands of a beast and a lamb.
The Refugee Experience: Computer Pop-ups Ellie Bozmarova
The first computer pop-up I ever saw was in 1999 for a new girlâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s bicycle. I was sitting with my mother, practicing English. We called my father in wonder asking, when will we receive this amazing prize for opening the right page at the right time? We were so poor we got the other poor kidsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; clothes for Christmas. No bike arrived. The pop up kept flashing across pages but we got wise faster and faster. Now I am tired and she is gone. And the world keeps coughing endless glitter and empty flashing lights.
When I Found Out Your Wife was Pregnant, You Said My First Actual Child Cat Batsios
Was it not Actual when you sat in the parking lot, I passed through picket signs to the front desk? We have your file, Miss, but require a password. I said ‘skippy’ as if something like peanut butter or the name of a family dog would change its Actual. There were four of us in the waiting room soaking in Actual, our eyes pitted by some booklets, dismembered flesh, we read them, putting Actual into our hands. I had bought a drug store test used it at the Coney where all of us go, our din of punk, hairclips, and cigarette smoke. I slipped away, and when the women’s room was occupied Actual happened in the men’s with the door locked— it came in the form of a plus sign—so I threw Actual away, buried it when I washed my hands, but Actual was still there when I went back to the pile of used paper two hours later. Actual is sharp, like your tongue, you use it to cut away what happened, like a doctor who counts back from ten as anesthetic clouds a mind. Actual was waking in a room that seemed like a birthing ward— women in beds, attendants holding and guiding to and from the bathroom where the trashcan was full, I checked to see if it was Actual, but Actual was somewhere else. Actual left the room while I recovered, passed you in the parking lot, knew you wouldn’t recognize her, even now.
D.I.V.O.R.C.E. Mark J. Mitchell
He lost his second wife in Buffalo. She hid behind his books and slipped away on their due date. Libraries are safe—dust holds warmth. It smells like powdered hands. She curled under some shelves and stayed. He had to go— anywhere. Two yellow lines knew his name. He loved spilled gas, new tar. Some arctic gust Chased him through a door. He followed a world. She lives on paper now. Her dreams are sad but pretty. His eyes only squint at signs. He never wonders. She thinks that’s too bad but flips her page. For now, distance excites him like flame. She knows that her pictures will fade quick as brittle paper, She swallows time.
I am a failed artist Erin Jamieson
Years of empty canvas punctuated w/ moments of chaotic splashes of color hoping someday it will become something but it never does just moments of brilliant color, then-faded into opaque memory & no one can see anything but greasy impressions, Imperfect parchment meant to be stripped away replaced & one day it will be & one day I will exist to no one
Summer Solstice Charles K Frempong-Longdon
You shed a snakeskin and brought back spice from the basin Grew squash as big as my head in the garden across the way It was tucked back behind the thickest patch of grass in the neighborhood Behind it lay a poppy field that smelt sweet when it rained That month of April it rained at least 5 times And you stood in it letting yourself melt into teardrops tender Sweet blossom child, your green thumb planted deep into the soil When it blooms there is a smile and the most delicate of secrets held in a rose bud Balanced on the whim of a stem, we all watched the gusts of sweltering summer air rush by We felt it on our faces, it pulled pebbles from my grin Told the stone-faced Goblin to the ease his fist Leave them unclenched so that you may gift him with a bouquet Ordained with hues and shades of promise, the red petals creeping over fingertips Fuzzy to the touch and bold in fragrance It rains, and everything begins to smell like sandalwood Dry and rigid, stinging the nose, wafting across honeycombs The bees floating on the streams of romance in the air
Plenty Furious Cecily King
What hasn’t killed me isn’t bored with trying. Either I’ll put up an entertaining fight, or I’ll fall, rise from the dead in the morning, put on my uniform, and go back to work. I make for such good stalking, big arms swinging snapping my remaining teeth lumbering slow but incapable of stopping. I’m coming at it, not fast, but plenty furious. Life is throwing shadows my fists will never connect with but I keep hurling knuckles at.
CATCH AND RELEASE Courtney LeBlanc
It took his father dying to break us. He didn’t tell me immediately, instead doled out this information slowly, a fisherman setting the bait and I opened my mouth, bit what was offered, felt the sharp tug of the hook against my lip. First he told me he couldn’t see me when I arrived – we’d been apart for two months, been planning our reunion for weeks. Why? I asked. I’ll see you on the 29th, he said. Eventually he tells me his father has died, then doesn’t speak to me for seven days, the hook in my lip festering. I don’t know what it’s like to lose a parent, to suddenly be orphaned – perhaps talking to your lover is too much to ask while grieving. Perhaps it was only a game of catch and release.
iTrap Leroy Bean I bet you thought that you were making a difference in statistics Telling adolescence and adults who can help it to stay away from drug addiction and influences But did you know you’ve been buying more white now, than ever? even more than the peak of the crack flood in 87’ We have some of the most controlled substances and its not even on the schedule Except, when you’re waiting on our next drop We have everything on lock For example, We added the finger scanner to keep your girl or your dude out your inbox Plus you ain’t messin’ with those people that’s sending that green reggie You want that exotic loud those blue messages And we got dope dealers excuse me, product sellers on every corner pressin’ to sell you the outcome of this pure peer pressure Now you ain’t satisfied until you have Every. Next. Level. Even with our minimal change efforts So, We created iPhone Foever And the rate it can damage is recordable but we don’t make it so you can just go get a full fix from the Squad you Geeks only WE can provide that So you have to come straight to the trap Excuse me, Mac manufacturer cause we control your actions and we have the capital to prove it Our pushers moving.... 120 birds I mean, Phones a week At at least 64 gigs a piece starting at 750 for the whole thing
But don’t you even worry about that! because you can even get a front Excuse me, a lease for that added extra on your monthly bill and for the right amount of cash YOU can choose when to upgrade your pack but no matter how much you paid... you ain’t create it... so you can never get your old shit back That’s right, We Taxin’! On top of the fact that we got the patent so if any other plug I mean, manufacturer Wants to trespass then we grabbin’ the strap and the black package... I mean, the fax for your blackmail and we moving to lawsuits When are you people going to learn that real gangsters are educated in business and law too plus we still wearing suits. Samsung tried to step to our processor so we suing to teach a lesson but we dropped it in other countries because Google threw some money our way Oh! but we own the United States It’s so easy to profit You all live off influence so easy to bend the truth And what you don’t know is Google know you better than you do and Siri, so interesting she got your voice and your fingerprint See! we all working together Samsung even sell us computer chips while ya’ll beefin’ over our toys claiming Blood or Crip I mean, Apple or Android our system is quite efficient
We have our falcons eyes, You know? Walmart, Malls, Target, K-Mart, Best Buy, AT&T, and Verizon Sprint, T-Mobile, Cricket, and even Office Max Now Listen... Is you iPhone 6s or older having glitches? Restarting? Text messages ain’t sending? That’s because we dropped a virus I mean A new IOS to get you cheap people to start buying the 7’s But we make sure you couldn’t prove it We got hit men so vicious they’ll sue you up out of anything in your kitchen No baking soda, No pyrex, or whisk to whip it with You are no longer compitition We have a lieutenant I mean, Vice President Next in line to run the business ready to step in the cleats of Steven to finish leaving track mark records for how long we can keep them fiend’n and our D Boy himself I mean, Dope Man I mean, Drug Lord DAMN! CEO of Apple, Pixar, and Board member of Walt Disney Co. God rest his soul Everybody knows Mr. Jobs Even if they catch our business flow we still won’t go to jail This is legal trappin’ I mean, Sales Welcome to the reality of the Apple Cartel.