RIGGWELTER #19 MARCH 2019 ed. Amy Kinsman
The following works are copyrighted to their listed authors ÂŠ2019. Riggwelter Press is copyrighted to Amy Kinsman ÂŠ2017.
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Foreword Back with the Boys Plastic Monkeys Elizaâ€™s Garden Bird on a Wire The Way A Hand Lies Lady, Sing the Blues Mirror Neurons Untitled Combustion Goblin Fruit confluence 1 Transfer Greyhound Dowsing Catacomb Renovations The golden concoction Symphony Surgeon Generalâ€™s Warning Blood Letting Disown Me Three Times On Giving Up Alcoholism portraiture There She Is Gorgon Revived Sinning on the Grave Thursday Dreaming Spell for Men Who Lay Hands Untitled Condemned the lord the Charlatan Bohemian Quasifesto Colli Berici Rewilding The Gorge One of These Dreams Contributors Acknowledgements
4 5 6 7 11 12 13 14 15 16 21 22 23 24 26 27 32 33 34 35 36 40 41 42 43 48 49 51 52 53 54 55 56 59 60 61 62 63 67
This issue is a strange one, all about the grit and viscera of living. Life isn’t always pretty – sometimes it’s sublime in its terror. Like a noir, these poems will guide you through the dark city streets lit with neon and soaked in rain, seemingly innocent but somehow unsettling events, passionate (or is that useful?) romances, trauma and revenge, all while huffing on a cigarette. Perfect for the miserable, damp close of winter before spring is ready to brighten things up. So put your feet up on the desk and let these works pull you into a complex web of intrigue on what might seem an ordinary Friday morning. As always, some thanks before we begin. This month, more than ever, thank you to our submitters for bearing with our response time delays – this tired editor just turned in their MA dissertation and will be back on it soon. I am deeply pleased that Riggwelter has a readership and submitters with such deep patience and incredible politeness. Thank you very much to the tireless work of our reviewers. Having conquered the best part of our backlog, we will be opening our doors to solicitations for reviews in the near future. Thank you to everyone who has supported us on social media and to our lovely, lovely readers, and on a personal note, thank you to my friends and family for getting me through a deeply stressful time. Onwards and upwards. There’s art to engage with! See you next month.
Amy Kinsman (Founding Editor)
Back with the Boys
That was the city of dirty cardboard where we all knew an ex-member of The Fall. Lilacs sprouted beneath our doorsteps and Italians students slept inside our airing cupboards. They were days when we needed nothing but mixtapes, red wine and crap films when we theorised about conspiracies by postcard. Ah, those were good days let me tell you, when two men named Tim fought for supremacy of the underground clubs of Stoke Newington and the loser became known as Australian Tim, when a friend had been working for years on the index to his secret history of the Templars and none of us would actually read it but voiced encouragement about The Project. These were days before restaurateurs ruled Soho when the shops sold Bakelite radios and peacock feathers and women called to you, trapped in their booths. Everyone avoided the docks and the reservoir unless they didn't and you heard about it endlessly as the subject of monologues or outsider performances and we listened to Colombian instrumentalists and danced The Scratch and The Fundamentalist during gigs by Queasy Saint and Aryan Zoo. One time, someone befriended an old woman late at night, on the way back from the tube station, and we dragged her along to The Cuckoo Inn and propped her at the bar and fed her gin and almonds until she began to cry and pointed back outside, warning us that time is circular and space an illusion and everything is lost, even as you experience it. Daniel Bennett
At my grandma's flat, there was a jar of plastic monkeys we used to play with by attaching one to the top of the radiator and creating a chain of the others which hung down to the floor. Dangling like pendants the multi-coloured monkeys hung down the radiator swaying slightly as if still finding balance. Each had an arm outstretched above its head, the toppermost's was slotted as in grasp at the radiator's apex, others loosely clipped into the hooked tail of the above, a tasseling family of acrobatic apes, conker-browns, absinthe-greens, reds as crisp as Hoola Hoop packets. Nine storiesâ€™ down the grime and crime of an estate bled bleakly into the fringes of the city, and like pool balls plopping into pockets ambulances shunted in and out of the depot. Behind, on a settee that had seen three generations, adults could be over-heard, talking about serious things, but for us - there were the monkeys: a hand upraised in hope secured into the curve of a tail shaped like a smile. Simon Zonenblick
The one time I slept on the right side of the bed, I dreamed of Eliza Valsnev. We had not spoken in more than a decade. I was married. They did not get along, but that was not the reason. We rarely kept contact before then. Yet Eliza entered my subconscious, acting as she always had in person: tersely cutting into you when making a point about something. She was a blond; pretty as a shaggy-haired punk, with a small nose and gray eyes that added to the intimidation factor when she was mad. Eliza was often mad, burdened with a bill of particulars beginning from the first time she was slapped by her mother. She said she was three when it occurred. She kept her bangs long to mask the scar on her forehead. Her scar was shaped like a jagged L, the hue a deep red. Eliza had landed badly on the green Formica flooring. We had a thing where I would brush her hair away from the scar, and Eliza would push it back. This started out as annoying to her, but later accepted until the time we broke up.
The dream began in a motel room out in the desert. It was from when we drove to California, because when looking out the window I saw a Standard gas station across the highway, with barren, aged mountains rising against the eternally blue sky. This road trip was many years ago. We went to Los Angeles to see John Fante.
Eliza and I wanted to meet him. It was through his writing that we met. I spotted Eliza one afternoon in the school library hunched over at the table, her palms pressed fiercely against her cheeks, reading Ask the Dust. I fell in love with her intensity as she talked about his work, and writers she liked. We took the long route to Los Angeles. Left the interstate in Arizona and drove north to Vegas, then on to Pahrump, Nevada, crossed the furnace wastelands, taking in what it must have been like for Fante’s Bandini desperately searching for Camilla. He never found her. Fante died the day before we arrived at his house in Malibu. Turned out he had been living at the retirement home for actors and writers in Woodland Hills. That was where he died. It was just as well we had not met. Eliza took a photo of the garden walk leading to the house. Through the brambles we spotted his wife standing under the shade of a tree in the yard, staring southeast.
Eliza lay on the bed. It was already grossly hot in the Mojave May, but she wore a longsleeved tiger print blouse and fake snakeskin mini, and her black pattern hose dipped into Doc Marten boots. Her legs dangled to the floor. Eliza lazily scraped her heels against the worn carpeting. “I am an apprehension. Perhaps an apparition,” she said. I answered with a non sequitur. “Why was it that whenever we were at your house you would step around a certain spot in the kitchen?” She leaned to her side, looked up at me and smiled. Eliza had a glorious, expressive grin that opened a gate into her inner world.
Her eyes were intense, piercing. “If I ran into the desert, would you search for me for a day and a night, and then throw a book you wrote so I may find it someday? Just like in Ask the Dust?” “Are you in that much pain, Eliza?” Still grinning, Eliza said. “One day, when I was older—one day I had an epiphany that I struggled as Christ during the Stations of the Cross. As the weeks passed—years—I tended to my garden of cruelty. I watered my sorrows, dug palos between the rows, and pruned the thorny roses.” She paused before continuing. “With each year my garden grew larger. I planted new bushes, placed rocks around each plot, and soon added trees. Now I have a forest for my soul. Complete, but never quite.” “You want to run into the desert,” I said, turning my gaze to the Standard Oil sign across the road.
The dream moved to another scene. We had wandered deep into the desert, but it was no longer the Mojave. The terrain was more like the Tabernas, in Spain. The terrain was mountainous and semi-arid, not nearly as hot as the Mojave. As I looked ahead, I watched storm clouds gathering before us. The clouds formed as smoke, billowing like omnivorous devils. Soon, the sky transitioned to dusk. In the darkness, I had lost my way. In the meantime, I lost Eliza. She had run away deeper into the desert. As thunder rumbled through the low mountains of the desert, I began running. I had a sense of where she was. I saw an abandoned convent at the summit of the tallest mountain.
I ran toward it. Upon arrival, I made my way into a long, twisting gallery. There were portraits of the abbesses, staring blankly down at me as I ran through the labyrinthine hall. I made a right, and found myself at the entrance to the cloister. Hanging beside the door was a painting of Eliza. She sat on a simple wooden chair in her motherâ€™s kitchen, with one hand holding a book, and in the other a rose. I opened the door and entered the cloister. At the center of the colonnade stood Eliza wearing the purple dress, and high heels she wore to our high school prom. Her hands were firmly placed on the stone balustrade, staring impassively into the abandoned, overgrown garden in the quadrangle. I stood next to her, silent as the rain poured down as it thundered above. Eliza broke the silence, saying, â€œYou found me, Bandini.â€? I awoke to the telephone ringing on the bedside table. I picked it up aware of what would be said.
Bird on a Wire
The Way A Hand Lies
You have to remember the way a hand lies on a table, the bend of the fingers, the arch of the palm, the tension at the wrist, the way it rests on naked skin, owning, drifting, the way it touches the spine of an old memory, drumming a restless rhythm, its eyes crinkling- everything is unveiled in the shape of our touch, look how the sky feels the cheek of the moon tonight, thereâ€™s a story in it, or how the wind stops in the folds of the jasmine bud â€“ that night his hands held his walking stick tighter with each step, he was shuffling to the end as if he knew where it was, where he would fall and what would unhappen as his body hit the tiles and his hand lay open, stiff and unmoving, his index finger raised slightly, pointing to the sky. I watch mother now, her hands pale against the dark mahogany, one blue vein pulsing softly as her fingers caress a wordless memory. She looks up, eyes searching the sky. Sometimes, she smiles. Rajani Radhakrishnan
Lady, Sing the Blues
Aged two, my granddaughter, learning to swim, strays by uncanny fluke into White House waters, trawls among the rocks and bottom-feeders, hauls up a crock of zeitgeist, slick with slime. Back in her car seat, dried to a shine, she nuzzles Minnie, that all-American mouse, dressed in the borrowed garb of Lady Liberty. Blameless Minnie with her floppy crown and fuzzy robe -- the green a match, but everything bendable -- has been stitched up: pressed into parody by the ancient force that grants precocious truths to babes and sucklings. Freshly apprised, my wise child grasps the torch whose flame once promised warmth as well as light, and guides it -- recast as an ice cream cone -into Minnieâ€™s eager, open mouth. Ceri Eagling
The seizure flicker of a bus station advert broken and half-stripped of the crisp image: fizzy cola / in a clear glass. I feel I am heading for another sort of break. I don't know if the smudged and dripping word / in the fogged bus window is "muscle" or "myself," if the writer wrote a threat or warning / of self-harming, or if the play of language drove the fingertip. My miming reflection staticky in the glass reaches back, clears a line in the wetness before the shuddering lights of the bus shut off in a convulsion. get off / get
off Miranda Barnes
Untitled (Cover Image) Shelly Kay
“You didn’t burn down Marty’s.” “I did!” I really did. Obviously not on purpose. I loved that bar. “Look, I know you’ve been pretty anxious lately, and you get weird when you’re anxious, but I promise you it wasn’t your fault.” “It’s not like I’m going to turn myself in.” Can you imagine? The village police up at school are the slimiest people I know. I’d never get their sludge off me. Even after they inevitably called my mom out of concern for my mental health and let me go with a warning I would still be slimed for life. “What? I didn’t hear you.” Leah’s pixelated mouth is hopelessly out of sync with her words. “I don’t think the Wi-Fi here can handle this right now.” “What, is everyone Skyping all at once?” “Probably.” The call drops. Before I can try again she messages me to say good night. It’s not night here. So basically, I’m home for my brother’s big concert, but I was thinking of just sticking around for a while, a week or maybe three, right up until finals. It’s too late to drop out of school, so I figure I’m better off petering out. It will attract less attention. The thing is, I’m still conflicted. I haven’t really decided whether trying to yank myself out of whatever hole I’m in and reach for some kind of success is worth the embarrassment yet. It just feels like I’ve been lied to, somehow. I guess I’m pretty pissed off about the whole situation. I’ve been directing a lot of negative energy toward my school lately, and that includes Main Street. I think that’s how the fire got started.
My school is in a cow shit town. I wasn’t supposed to be stuck smelling it this semester though. I was supposed to be abroad with my best friend, but I didn’t do the paperwork right. I think I just didn’t do about half of it at all, actually. There’s a lot of paperwork to keep track of when you apply to study abroad. It could have happened to anybody. So now the one person who sort of tolerates me sober is getting drunk every night in London while I spend every day in Shit Town with Shakespeare and Henry James. I don’t know who bores me more. Bored isn’t the right word though. I’m not bored exactly, just uninspired. And it’s no one’s fault really. If anything it’s my fault for not filling out those stupid forms. Anyway. Back to the fire. Marty’s is dead. A fire got started somehow around one in the afternoon, right around the time the miners start to filter in from neighboring towns. The fire department blocked off the whole street, apparently, so they could fight it. I got emergency notifications on my phone and everything. They managed to keep the fire from spreading to any of the other three or four real businesses in town but the bar was dead by five. Here’s how I know I’m responsible. Last night I dreamed I was sitting on the pool table in the middle of Marty’s, smoking a joint. No one was there. “Doesn’t anybody want to smoke this with me?” I asked. When no one came running I threw the rest of the joint behind the bar, which went up in flames immediately. Then Stan, the bald old bartender/ex-miner/coke dealer, fell from the ceiling through a cloud of black smoke. “Hey!” he shouted as I continued to sit there. “Hey, what you tryin’ to pull?”
That may have been what he said last Thursday when I got caught trying to leave a dollar to cover ten dollars’ worth of drinks. I’m not sure though. This dream was just so clear. I don’t even remember my dreams most of the time. It was on my mind all day, way before I checked my phone and found out what happened. Watching the live coverage made me feel guilty. There was so much smoke and it looked so familiar.
My brother is amazing, obviously. Voice of an angel, all that shit that’s never true for anybody they say it about. It’s true for him. He sings the national anthem and three jazz numbers and then the mortals have to follow it up. They all sound really, really bad. And not just in comparison. At intermission Mom says it would be rude to leave before the concert is over. “Anyway, who would drive your brother home?” “He can sneak out with us. Let’s get ice cream!” Mom doesn’t want ice cream. Or anything, actually, since it’s after six. She’s trying intermittent fasting. “Hey Mom, can I tell you something?” “Mm-hmm.” “Remember what happened with the roach in the tub in that hotel in Jersey?” One time we were visiting my hoarder aunt and the hotel closest to her ended up being even more disgusting than her house. When I stepped into the bathroom I sort of felt these vibrations and this thought popped into my head like oh God. I really hope there
isn’t a cockroach in the tub right now. And there was! When I pulled back the shower curtain it was right next to the drain, exactly where I knew it would be. Mom smiles. “You mean your extrasensory abilities?” “Yeah, exactly. Well, I think I did something sort of along those lines.” Before I can finish explaining the lights are flickering and the principal is saying “Welcome back, everybody, the second half of tonight’s delightful program is about to begin.” That means two more hours. Two more hours of shrieking and stomping and an untuned piano. I spend most of them trying to remember other times I knew something I couldn’t know. All I can come up with is the morning a month or two ago when I woke up thinking about a particular kind of whole grain frozen waffles Mom used to get us when we were kids. I hadn’t thought about those waffles in at least ten years. Then as I was getting ready to eat my cereal the news said that there had been a recall on the waffles, listeria contamination or something, and that two people were in critical condition. I knew that. My cereal tasted better than usual that morning. I guess it’s pretty unlikely that I burned down Marty’s though. It’s more likely I just knew about it, right? It was just a premonition. Yeah, that makes a lot more sense. I text Mom the rest of the story and my latest revelation. She texts back “haha.” This is what being home is always like. It’s not bad, but it’s not London. And it’s not Marty’s, either.
I have to pass it on my way back to my apartment. At first I can’t figure out why this empty blackened place where I used to drink hoppy beer and Tom Collinses and the occasional Long Island for efficiency reminds
me of corn. My bus drove past miles and miles of cornfields on the way up here and now I get to finally see the damage I probably didn’t do and all I can think about is more corn. Then I realize: husk. It’s like cooking, but backwards. Marty’s has been cooked raw. Maybe it is my fault after all. Maybe I was supposed to do something about my dream, crack the code and warn somebody. Could telling the police or the fire department I had seen the future have stopped this? Probably not. I’ve never met anyone from the fire department, but those cops are worse than bathtub roaches. I’m just starting to actually cry over the sticky floor and the mismatched barstools and the bathroom graffiti I never got a chance to add to and the pool table I never actually used when I get a text from some guy, “Nate Marty’s” in my phone because I still don’t know his last name. Everybody at this school must have at least one person like that in their phone, right? So much for that family line. The text says “having a house party tonight, wanna come?” Not especially, Nate, but I will. But first I think I just might gather up my books and notes and start a fucking bonfire.
Tipping tables toward Hempstead Harbor / thirsty waters crave to save a lost little girl who writes / brain drained / heart stained /about a son of a bitch rex / whose blood circulates in ancient halos / dizzy stones / hands all joint & bone / he pretends passion / drawing her close / tight / interlacing her / refusing to let go / but no / it was only to shake trees of rainwater / wet / she could have licked his elfin laugh / but no / she kissed him instead / tasting sweet watermelon on his tongue. Nancy Byrne Iannucci
confluence 1 Stephen BriseĂąo
Because I could not have you, I had your brother. Your bodies rhymed: same eyes, same lips, same mother. Twisted in his DNA were a million ghosts of you. He was but a chromosome from my love. And in the bed - with white hands and seashell eyelids as tender as a thigh - his cheeks flushed red as he kissed, so I forgave his hairy chest and coffee-ash mouth, his sour anger and his dick as thick as your wrist. It didn't last but who does? Not us. There was no magic in my hard-pricked voodoo. But he was often kind, and soft in the night. I could have even loved him, if he had been you. Phil Miller
She looked at the dog that wasn’t hers and said, ‘what the fuck is that?’ And I said, like I had no idea, ‘what is what?’ Secretly I hoped it’d end right there, because I didn’t really have the stamina to move my mouth for an answer let alone pretend the stray dog was hers. The truth was that I’d gone to one of those pooch meets, clicked yes, I’m interested, and bought the wrong dog home. ‘Has he always had that grey spot?’ she asked. I nodded. Not even that long after I brought it home her parents were over and asking things. How’s work, how’s this, that, whatever. Then her dad patted the thing and it snarled like he’d stomped on its ropy tail. ‘Hey, hey, that’s no way to behave boy.’ When we waved goodbye in the driveway it felt like they’d dug up the murder weapon and buried it again. We took him for walks, fed him the steak fat, even let him up on the bed sometimes, but there was something distinctly not our dog about that other dog. I know she knew that, but I don’t think she knew how to say it. ‘We should take him to the vet soon,’ she said, and I panicked. ‘But there’s nothing wrong with him.’ ‘Just a check up,’ she smiled back, and scratched the spot he loved once, but he didn’t move. We had to really wrestle to get him in the car. The vet checked most things inside and out the dog and pronounced him healthy, though, we could be cleaning his teeth more often. ‘But why’s he been acting weird?’ she asked.
And no joke the vet looked into that dog’s eyes and said, ‘bark, bark.’ Not in the sense of saying the word but in the sense of whatever you get it. He leaned in close to listen, and the dog did the thing that dogs do, where they pretend not to look at you while they look at you. I was afraid for the snarl sure to come; that the vet might lose half his face. He turned back to us and said, ‘Sorry, I don’t speak dog.’ On the way home, I saw her eyes flick to the rear-view mirror and recall the things the vet had and hadn’t said. There were questions spelled out in her crow’s nest. Not really that long afterwards she gave up walking the dog altogether, and he wasn’t allowed up on the bed at all anymore. Something had changed, and the knowing was worse than the knowing why.
She asked him in letters licked across his back said tell me what you see in this the Rorschach blot of our sweat-stained sex towel a bird he said opening his wings to break free but what does that mean and where do you see it going in every little deathlike method of divination the rabbit bones or rat organs the used-up tea leaves sucked clean and squeezed across the bed like dreams I don't think there's any way of knowing without making love or at least more signs to read Weston Morrow
The Dark Necromancer Lord Majzark loved the ancient ceremonial paint in the catacombs, but his newly-hired Hellspawn Resources department decided that the bland color and poor upkeep lowered worker morale by as much as 20%. At first, Catherine, the HR Rep, recommended a light pink for “inspiring strength and emotional fortitude”, but Majzark refused to surrender the threatening aesthetic that he originally chose this catacomb space for. They settled on a subtle scarlet. Skeletal Minion #214 rose early that morning to get a head start on the renovations. She had been assigned to paint removal duty for the upper catacombs Floors 3-5. She hoped her diligence would impress the Dark Necromancer Lord enough to promote her to Skeletal Warrior or maybe even Skeletal Lord! Chipping at the paint disturbed dust and broke off paint chips which floated into Skeletal Minion #214’s vacant nose and eye holes. After an hour, she popped her head off, turned it over, and started patting the side to knock the debris out. “Urgh,” Zombified Minion #187 moaned as he approached with a bucket of paint and a wide brush. He lost his right arm during the last adventurer raid and had been moved from loot restocking to the painting division. Skeletal Minion #214 clacked her arm bones together to greet him. “Argh urr?” Zombified Minion #187 asked. Skeletal Minion #214 drug her fingers along her ribs, knocked a knuckle against a femur, paused to think, tapped her cheek bone, and pointed quizzically at Zombified Minion #187. Before he could answer, Putrid Abomination #5 stomped into the room.
He was renovation manager for the Upper Catacombs floors 3-7 and the first floor of the Tomb Maze. Putrid Abomination #5 gurgled and pointed to the far end of the wall with his cleaver, the fresh coat of blood-colored paint still dripping off the end. He stopped and scratched his extended belly with his third arm. He gurgled again and pointed to the opposite wall and drug himself toward the hidden entrance to the Tomb Maze. “Rah rah,” Zombified Minion #187 mumbled once Putrid Abomination #5 squeezed through the narrow passaged. Skeletal Minion #214 cackled and pulled her head off again. She started scraping something out of her nasal cavity when the gem on her amulet started blinking. “Some foolish heroes think they can fight us! Strike them down and show them why they shouldn’t impede the Legion of Evil!” The Dark Necromancer Lord roared from the amulet. “Your employees will be more receptive and eager to your orders if you use terms like ‘staff’ or ‘team’ rather than ‘Legion’,” Catherine’s even, inoffensive tone came soft from the amulet. The Dark Necromancer Lord growled before the amulet went dark. Zombified Minion #187 hid his paint bucket and brush in a nearby coffin. Unable to find her sword, Skeletal Minion #214 turned and brandished her paint scraper instead. An arrow flew out of the dark and struck Skeletal Minion #214 in her chest. It separated from the rest of her body, leaving her arms, legs, and head to fall into a neat pile on the floor. A man in long blue robes ran out of the dark and flung a fire ball at Zombified Minion #187. It missed and hit a part of painted wall, leaving a scorch mark.
An armored warrior ran into the room and smashed Zombified Minion #187’s leg. He collapsed to the ground, laid down, and pretended to be dead. Another person, wielding a bow, entered the room. The wizard and warrior were already walking towards the exit, before the archer stopped them and pointed to the hidden entrance that Putrid Abomination #5 forgot to close. The archer went through first. The warrior and wizard fought about who went through next. Zombified Minion #187 shifted his head to look at the wall where the fireball hit. “Uh?” he whispered to Skeletal Minion #214. She rolled her head back to look. She thought for a second and then raised her shoulders off the ground. They heard Putrid Abomination #5 bellowing. The archer and wizard ran through the room, carrying the warrior between them. “Well maybe if you hadn’t wasted a fireball on a worthless fucking zombie!” the archer shouted as they passed Zombified Minion #187. “Rah!” he shouted from the ground. After they left, Skeletal Minion #214 shimmied her arms over to her body, reattached them, walked her body back over to her legs, and started reattaching them. As she picked her head back up, Putrid Abomination #5 squeezed through the secret entrance. He pointed at the secret entrance and bellowed. Skeletal Minion #214 pointed at him. Zombified Minion #187 nodded in agreement. Embarrassed, Putrid Abomination #5 pointed at the scorch mark and gurgled at Zombified Minion #187. As Zombified Minion #187 tried to straighten out his leg, the Dark Necromancer Lord Majzark materialized, followed by Catherine.
“Good work on repelling those worthless heroes, Legion of—" Majzark began. Catherine cleared her throat. Majzark sighed. “Good work, team.” He turned to the wall. “I’m liking this color the more I look at it. I feel like getting work done, but I also feel impending doom.” He turned to leave, but Catherine stopped him and nodded to Skeletal Minion #214 and Zombified Minion #187. “I appreciate the work,” Majzark gestured to them. Skeletal Minion #214 clacked her bones together, and Zombified Minion #187 grunted. Catherine wrote their names down. “If there’s something you need, now’s the time to ask,” Mazjark offered. Zombified Minion #187 grunted and gestured to his leg. Mazjark snapped, and the bone and rotten flesh mended themselves on Zombified Minion #187’s leg. “And that’s all? I can get back to my experiments? Good. Great. Bye.” Mazjark clapped and disappeared. Catherine rolled her eyes. “Is there anything you need help with, Skeletal Minion #214?” She knocked on her skull. “I will definitely mention that to him. And remember to contact me if you need help with anything.” Catherine clapped and disappeared.
Putrid Abomination #5 gurgled and squeezed back through the hidden passage. Zombified Minion #187 shambled off to find a ladder, so he could reach the scorch mark. Skeletal Minion went back to scraping with newfound vigor, that promotion was in her grasp.
The golden concoction
the golden concoction of feelings on the water; the seven pm Spring light: I am that and I am that too – the wilful ignorant rage of the shadows creeping something about a day beginning or something about a day ending or can I manufacture something like emotion something like Love – can I turn it on; Off; inside out like a weapon Can I graze it against my face; a finality; a river Escalations of bone; I am broth; I am hunter you press me; flower ribcage into your book – a field guide gatherer, a fumbled heart forager; a finder of lost lingerings I, a postcard, I, a lock of hair still attached to the head Is it a lock then – or a key – or a strand? Lauren Suchenski
Surgeon Generalâ€™s Warning
Reading this in bed with a lover may cause babies. A bouquet of puppies may also cause babies. Today the wind is still blowing and this growler won't drink itself. Dawn tells me there is nothing that doesn't mean everything. Even screaming wonâ€™t stop the moon, so I whisper in the ear you left in bed after the night that never ended,
There is hope in the aftermath of the storms that have blown through my temporal lobe. And:
The mailbox we built together still stands. Hunter Conway
A spreading map of blood blotted the white plains of the pillow underneath my arm: the cannula refused to enter my opened vein. I screamed; the nurse poured scorn. She could not know that on another night blood petalled bathroom basin and the floor, blackened pillow, sheets and bed you opened the small veins of your wrist, survived. But still I see dark trails follow after you. Gill McEvoy
Disown Me Three Times
Teresa asked When will Ben die, and the faded tin planchette between Craig and Jenniferâ€™s fingers skittered and scratched around the board, stopping and starting on black calligraphic numbers until it revealed five/twenty-seven/twenty-twenty. My forty-sixth birthday. Craig blurted How, and the spirits turned breakneck circles until spelling car
crash . That was the first warning.
I always did as told. I always spent a Saturday hour on a chapter of my catechism workbook, memorizing the weekly no-no, completing the quiz in ink. I always did additional as omitted, learning early the deflective sheen of any size white lies. Not the mortal kind requiring confession, rosary atonements and concave guilt, but the venal kind that once forgotten never happened despite feeling good after winning four points on a spades loner.
Grandpa wiped his pocket knife on his pants leg, placing shiny vivisected groundhog parts on the yellowed grass in neat rows of ten sorted by size, listening as I catalogued the viscera with names scientific and mundane, Grandpa opined, The future is time
you ainâ€™t got yet, so why worry about it? He sliced the ileum open. Greenish wet afterlife slid free. I pinched my nose, grimacing agreement. He had never read Newton, Einstein or Hawking, but he had lived. He had watched the moon and listened to the crows lining up on the power line
between the hay barns, snatching secrets from nearby dreams. He knew when to plant corn to raise the best ears, when to have Grandma cut his hair for slower regrowth. Even through his seventies, his head remained a full and fuzzy silver that sparkled when he removed his hat in midday heat. I always lived in the present, from our narrow valley between deciduous hills that protected us with quiet, to the concrete forests gridded with unnamed men. Flat places and faces feel unsafe, even if you can see the tornado reaching down to ground before you hear it squeal like Satan after a world war. I always lived in the present but for the future, until the third warning happened one late May morning, when I was walking up the empty beach well-north of Myrtle and saw a blue tent billowing near the dunes, fronted by a handwritten cardboard sign that read THE FUTURE IS INSIDE. When I pulled back the entrance flap, an old hippie with flowing gray curls wearing a persimmon linen sundress and too much turquoise jewellery smiled and motioned me in. I sat lotus beside her on an orange yoga mat as she asked my name, as she massaged my palm with a drop of baby oil and continued smiling until she traced my lines off the edge of my hand. Until she looked outside to the receding tide and cried, whispering Thereâ€™s nothing left.
The second warning was the same. The same people. Craig laughed. Jennifer gasped. The same results. He used to fuck his nanny. She rubbed her swollen belly. The same spot in the cafeteria during spring science fair.
Two years since the first warning. Teresa seemed worried. Likely about her parents unending divorce proceedings. The same and equally unbelievable. Like the story of Noah’s ark. I had created a poster presentation and sealed air experiment called Layers of Earth’s Atmosphere, with the s missing before the p on every label. The same mistake. No teacher or judge noticed. Craig asked Are you sure? The same board, borrowed again from Jennifer’s mom, who used it to deduce lottery numbers or detect her boyfriends’ affairs. I only cheated at cards, as told.
Yes. The sameness was our heritage. At least until I gained six inches and twenty pounds. Until I left before the internet arrived and transmitted the world inside the hills, and everyone abandoned rational thought to insist that sameness from their dens. Time travels a one way on memory lane, and I kept looking for a suitable cul-desac.
Grandpa didn’t worry the future, but I had a way of seeing it. I sliced the membrane like a dealer’s mid deck flick or that trick I learned over my uncle’s chrome lighter that clicked when it closed. He liked to smoke what he rolled. I liked to distribute the hands with a reach, passing over the lighter placed far enough away to not seem like lying. The not yet is easily known when you believe it. Ask any of the saints. With hormones, it moved to my dreams, to synaptic visits from other dead uncles and a knotting of the two wiry hairs sprouting from that dark uneven mole on my neck. Hairs I plucked, that bled from the root.
Doesnâ€™t that hurt? Craig was closeted. Teresa a drunk. Jennifer a grandma by thirty-eight. The future tends to ache long after it breaks.
Will it hurt? The sky does not answer. I kick a pebble from the concrete square on the sidewalk in front of my house. Cars passing have no idea if they are the one. The cicadas hear only their horny selves, like long away men unrelieved of unnamed urges older than the gravity currently keeping my feet on the ground.
Maybe, but you wonâ€™t remember it. I wonder why I brought my phone. I have deleted all my accounts. All my cash under the mattress in a reusable grocery tote. I wonder if I will see it coming. If I will hear it first. If the end is ever as plotted once you truly give yourself over to the story and its inevitable telling. Grandpa fell down the stairs. He liked to write things down before history gets to
decide what to say about me. I wrote a poem over breakfast, about arrogance and a locked box of bad memories stowed at the back of a dusty basement shelf. Maybe my mom will find it. If she looks. If. I wait for my car.
On Giving Up Alcoholism
I confess I came too late to the bloom. There isnâ€™t a reason, but there is. It must be a memory, a recognition of the place I left to wither & hold still. Between the fever & the bottle, between the stories & the years, who can say what is remembered? Iâ€™m trying to make sense of what came before, before I kept on sleeping, sleeping & dreaming inside my womb, my body curled in on itself, slippery & warm, slow tongue & bruised taste buds ripped open into a gritty red. (They say when you bleed, you become a woman.) How many days I wished to have back until I unwished them all, my airless lungs gasping, mouth popped. Maybe I just felt it. Maybe I just decided I was tired, but that red, that red repeating itself was something I was meant to understand when my fever subsided & my body returned. Ariana D. Den Bleyker
soft tissue faint smell of breath rain outside leaves its fingertips on the window sketches a portrait of you breath of fog slow streak of rain someoneâ€™s headlights fading
god begins his slow walk through your star
There She Is Fabrice Poussin
“Welcome. I’ve been waiting for you.” The shopkeeper’s baritone greeting surprised me. His gaze was piercing even from a distance. “I’m sorry? I don’t believe we’ve met. Are you expecting someone else? I happened to pass by, and your shop looked intriguing.” My stomach fluttered, noticing no other customers. My hands shook, and I clasped them to stop the tremor. “Is this by appointment only? I did not see a notice, only the ‘Open’ sign. Did I miss it?” “No, you are the intended one. Perhaps you have not perceived. No matter. Your timing is precise. It is my pleasure to serve.” He bowed slightly and waved a presenting hand. A flick of his fingers produced a business card, printed in white on darkest black stock.
Antithetical Synergies Keeper, Braeden Aldorcai
Nothing more. “Keeper” seemed strangely simplistic. I assumed the title referred to the shopkeeping role. I stuffed the card in my pocket and mumbled, “It’s nice to meet you. Thank you.” “As always.” His intonation thickened with implication. His comments unnerved me. Intended one? Precise timing? Did he think he knew me? His stare scrutinized. I averted my eyes to browse the cluttered room.
The dim lighting cloaked the wares in sepia. I had the feeling of stepping back in time. Rows of shallow shelves lined a corner stocked with irregularly shaped bottles, cork-stoppered with none of the multiple safety wrappings of todayâ€™s standard. Their labels appeared handmade, the text in a foreign or ancient language. All looked immaculate as if dust did not exist here. Various antique tables cramped the floor space, objects heaped upon them. One lace-draped sideboard presented stacks of curious hand-bound tablets. Poetry, I guessed? Cryptic titles intrigued: The Unapproachable and Dire. Romantic Schemes for
the Illuminant. Obliteration. Endless Sight or Contracted Foci. A variety of oddities hung from the rafters. Some appeared simple twigs, bunches of dried herbs and flowers devoid of color. Was that a time-shrivelled carcass of a small animal? Thankfully, I detected no smell. I passed under strings of withered mushrooms, snake skins, and twisted roots. Bizarre framed paintings were displayed throughout. Each of them induced sensation. Passing them by proved difficult. Their stories begged to relay. I began to feel altered, as if under the effect of a drug. No background music played when I entered, yet impressions like theatrical sound effects rang in my ears. I felt directed from one display to another. My vision sharpened. Scents wafted, but I could not tie them to a source. I felt lightened as if movement required no effort. I glanced back to the bulky, dark-framed, glass display case that served as a counter where the clerk had stood when I entered. He was not there. I turned back, and my breath caught to find him standing close by.
“Is all to your satisfaction?” One of his thick eyebrows raised. The piercing eyes were blue, but not a blue I could recall, like a combination of many shades combined in swirls and streaks. They seemed to pulse in intensity. In the next moment, they looked ordinary. Words caught in my throat. My hesitancy added to my disturbance. “Thank you. Yes. All is just as it should be.” Why did I say that? I looked down and shook my head. “Thanks again,” I hurried toward the door. His words followed me, “Until next time…”
Sleep was fitful that night. In semi-consciousness, guilt lashed at my mind with the demonic strength of seduction. In vain I tried to redirect my thoughts toward placid realities. I struggled to deny the growing internal darkness. The insistence of my inner goodness succumbed to the dominance of a suppressed self that could no longer rest. My scalp writhed. The commanding, pulsating swirls of blue glinted now in my own eyes. Sinking into dreamscape, I walked against the flow through a crowded street. Pedestrians sleepwalked, mired in cocoons of determination and self-importance. I felt a surge of adrenaline; all senses alarmed. The Adversary fast approached. My head snapped to the left as my legs braced in a crouch to the right. My arms and torso tensed. Fingers splayed. Eyes squeezed shut. I gathered intention from every source of my strength. The full range of my malice lasered through my sight at the invader. My tongue burst forth brushing downward swooping tusks. Intensity within me burned and exhilarated.
Ccccease! I mentally commanded. And the moment passed.
The throng of pedestrians flowed around the statue, an urban sculpture, an innocuous likeness of a former threat. Childlike, the populous remained innocent of either danger or thwart. I smiled in silent triumph. Never had I felt stronger. Revived.
At morning light, I sprang into my day with new-found exuberance—a genuine awakening. In no time, I walked my accustomed route. A marquee at a bank flashed the time and date. It appeared in error one day ahead. I digressed onto the same side street I’d explored—wasn’t that last evening? The shop was not yet open. The window displayed tokens, masks, aged pottery and shields depicting images of a related theme. A goddess? Warrior-Priestess? Some were beautiful, some horrific. All somehow familiar. A vacant space marked by an outline in the rippled silk suggested an apparent sale. The memory of the unusual eyes of the shopkeeper came to mind. I tried to recall the name I’d seen printed on the business card. In my pocket, my hand found no card. Instead, I withdrew a talisman matching the empty space in the display case. My breath caught as I recognized the ancient image of myself. I re-pocketed it quickly. Impossibly, I resisted the emerging memories of the endless ages. I shook off the astonishment of the recent past. The bank clock was correct. The talisman validated my return visit. And I knew the dreams were not merely subconscious manifestations. Braeden Aldorcai, my Keeper, who served me through eternity, facilitated my awakening. He’d waited while I walked slumbering in human forms until the right time. He kept the implements of inducement at full potency, knowing the precise one that would spark my revival this time.
I rushed along the street at a pace that for a mortal would have stimulated a hammering pulse, still calm in my exhilaration. I saw ahead a lone figure paused midstride. Nearing, I recognized the familiar form. Vacant eyes, frozen countenance, banished soul. My enemy stood in stone.
Sinning on the Grave
Worry yourself loved ousted from the technique of imagining, of passionately visualizing the consciousness Heavenly, the arm Goliath. Skip emotional reactions, re-create the pocket over your heart to become fact â€“ The Creator not only creates but will recognize this mind a power, will sink living into wither, will picture the blessings adverse, will create the Scriptures new. Kara Goughnour
Make a good fire and we’ll make her answer the grate simmers crimson with its coals and Bridget’s body bruised and sweltering soiled with piss, water, the acrid mess of her own brown hens is lifted in its stripy gown, the three men hold her over the glowering fire Jack Dunne leers, his breathing low and hard.
Are you Bridgie Boland, daughter of Patrick in the name of God? The shame burns her up
I am Dada, I am, she cries. The men swing her again:
Are you Bridgie Cleary true wife of Michael in the name of God? She chokes out her assent. Always the tag: daughter, wife. Never Bridgie alone; for that is what they fear – the single flame leaping
from its ashen bed and soaring high and clear. Sarah Law
A long time ago, in a land far away was Her dream. Here sunshine comes neatly wrapped and magic turns nightmares sugar sweet. Breathe deep, She is a heady perfume. She shows you riches, a kingdom, love like no other and delights unending. All She asks is your name that She might make a song; marrow that She might give you a feast; your children to honour in Her court. After all, you have neither kith nor kin, neither oaths nor law. In this dream the only command is your own, the sole will is Hers. She takes your hand, plays hide and seek down your spine as you forget the old ways, and consider not the waking world. These people you see: these ladies and lords and sires and sirs, they are not people; they are memories. They will draw you in, make home in your breast and battle in your hips. Join them and you will weave midwinter into their lungs and make wood fires in your hair. This is your dream, though you have no dominion over it. Like a child stealing into her great- grandmotherâ€™s house, you are in a different country that smells like fear smells like spice smells like travel like home like distance. You cannot die here, for death is iniquity in Her dream. Her time is for pain is for spice is for feasting â€˜til dawn. This was Her dream, but She is Gone.
Spell for Men Who Lay Hands
Between sips of neat whiskey on the porch overlooking the soybeans sprouting too close to the oft gluttonous creek, Aunt Martha whispered, Go find ten ladybugs (specifically, I learned later, harmonia axyridis ) and pluck their porch screen underwings before you grind them pretty beetles in a black bowl, (ceramic if you got it) dripping in two tablespoons of water skimmed from the deep end of the pond up top the near hill (where, and this matters, the algae shimmers blue just before sunrise washes the world tilted yellow) and then, set the mixture in beyond any shade for the hottest afternoon hour of that day before you add oil and honey and whip it creamy as swished spit. Set the bowl by his salad at dinner and let him pour, she insisted. He’ll sniff it and taste it with his pointer and use it all. He’ll call it sweet as that smack between your cheese fat thighs. He’ll lap the bowl, licking the rim and his fingers, smiling so wide you’ll know it’s working. Slowly though. Seven days to a week later, he’ll pass in his early sleep. Cardiac arrest. Peaceful as a puppy after an hour paddling the creek. No doctor will guess, and it depends on him if he goes to Jesus or the Devil, because no matter a man’s actions, you can never know his heart. I disagreed (silently) despite knowing that my mom had taught me to keep that secret, too, and I asked, Should get my honey from the barn hive? No, Martha said, scooping her empty tumbler with her pressed-on red pinky tip, use store bought. Keep that good stuff for yourself. Ben Kline
Untitled Sam Grudgings
The condemned man would not sleep during the night that was to be his last, but beat against the bars of his cell and shouted insults at his keepers. When they brought him the meal that would lie in his stomach as he died, he tipped the food onto the floor and drummed with the spoon on the empty bowl until he was restrained. He refused the chaplainâ€™s offer to hear his confession before being taken outside to the cool pre-dawn where the bandage over his eyes bound darkness to darkness. Although he was facing the sun when it rose, he did not see the glinting on the executionerâ€™s raised axe blade, the illuminated crowns of the hills he had watched through the cell window during his imprisonment, the rider racing over them with the answer to his last appeal, or the sand box resting only inches from his face. David Chorlton
today I thought of you and your god who walked across water with his driftwood feet while the world was set on fire Erik Fuhrer
the Charlatan Bohemian Quasifesto
it is my humbefuddled opinion that we are living in times increasingly more superb, more super-lative, more supervised &more stuporfluous than as a child any of the futures i imagined, woven from vague graspings at trends & spurious notions appropriated from an eclectic mash of fiction, had ever been – and it is into such a voidfull of discordant hopes & fears that i cast: well, not really a manifesto, but something. i wonder if, time being as it is not only money but the only groundroot every currency known to us, we would not find our shared life altogether simpler, neater, kinder, if that was what we primarily budgeted, made & received payments in? i s’pose sleep then may be a kind of organic tax to/from oneself. i don’t trust any authority figure who isn’t an anarchist at heart, nor any ‘fact’ which pre-dates wikipedia. i think all teachers should have absorbed the word ‘holistic’ & cognitive dissonance recognition should be a staple of education at all levels. i think all terrorists, freedom fighters, activists, reactionaries, soldiers & extreme sports stars should have the word ‘quixotic’ explained to them, preferably all in the pub on the same night. i’m not sure there isn’t anyone you couldn’t have a more or less interesting conversation with – if you bothered to learn their language. as everyone who’s ever been part of a sub/mainstream culture has empirical knowledge of a particular mythologised tribalism; anyone who’s ever binge-watched a series has felt the warm & mutualistic surrender to hypnotherapy; and those who follow rivers uphill through strange lands if naught else get quite deft at building improvised bridges. i think everyone should know as much real history as their life allows opportunity to discover, with the compulsory core of this loose curriculum being their very discovery of their very own real self within it. how could we but warily expect – afloat in our own contexts, no wind in the sails of collective memory – i feel our homeless people are being wasted. can’t we round them up and pay a basic wage to go & just chill out with lonely oldies?
i would like to see pedestrian behaviour become needlessly recklessly rude in any interactions with traffic, which needs putting in its place. roads have always only been for buses and bikes! there’d be pavement lanes for slow people & some sort of raised monorail-esque system for joggers & skaters. i can prove statistically – commercial aviation is innately racist. i’d like to see those poor liberal spirits who between a few dozen of them only control about half of global wealth continue to boost their margins, plucky devils. don’t you know monopolies are the greatest guarantors of civil sustainable competition – because they’ve already won? i think we should recycle dead people. i’m of the opinion that anyone who’s more offended by any bad language perceived to have been used in an emotive complaint about an injustice, nonsensical or not, than they are by the actual injustices under discussion – should reassess their fucking moral priorities, pronto. i think everything said with (or heard in) the air of irony should be taken absolutely seriously, for in all the beauteous gusts of expression & encounter all this world’s composers, scribblers, revolutionaries, explorers, scientists & magicians have wrought there is not yet the same unspokenness brokenness wokenness jokingness as in the fond puerility of sarcasm, of raw egalitarian playground jest. i think for ten-minute self-care intervals all adults every day should have to casually observe an insect without getting rid of it and/or talk to a child without upsetting it. i think they should teach creationisms in schools & evolutionary ecology in churches/temples/etc. i don’t half feel all this ‘digital detox’ hype has realised its full potential. why aren’t they putting paid officials on it to patrol public areas confiscating phones off people who are blatantly shirking their existence beyond screens? or issue fines by resetting inane high scores. while we’re at it, this ‘post-truth’ malarkey has definitely stopped being the source of vibrant & constructive debate it started out as… i suggest as a fun panacea we merge all forms of media into one giant global for-profit conglomerate & find some trustworthy psychopaths to run it.
i think they should make all policymakers take tests of pluralism & pragmatism in their implicit & explicit values, social & philosophical theories, ideals & ideologies – not to determine whether they are fit for post, but to produce bespoke breakdowns by infographics of the results for their constituents’ and the general public’s perusal. i don’t know why spies don’t spike their foes with MDMA, as one way or another it’d probably make interesting things happen. i reckon we should encourage all vermin, from the streetstrutter pigeons to the skaggy suburban foxes, to help irritate & drive out aggressively territorial human populations. i think they should broadcast any/all public CCTV camera feeds on 24-hour reality channels. then bored & loyal viewers could phone in any crime they see (as they’d get prizes or reduced future-potential-sentences for doing so), thus reducing police-service cost output by incentivising the broader societal response rates to suspicious activity! why waste the time of professionals when we have such a readily equipped & docile technologized population – let them be their own surveillance for sake of its own participatory spectacle! i think we should farm & eat all the endangered species, as look what our benevolent hand has done for the spread & reproductive successes of the humble chicken, e.g. (or did we start on the eggs? same difference) etc. actually – can i retract the ‘all’ i said there because some of those whatevers are ugly as heck & would probably taste it – allow; nature has a big dustbin. i’m curious as to whether Elon Musk could’ve reached Mars. can somebody fire him into space? and finally i am strongly convicted that we should work to more-or-less establish world peace under a single united government, democratic or not – it doesn’t matter! we just urgently need to centralise decisive control over all the – all the nuclear bombs, which post-haste we should drop all at once on the moon, to stop them ohsosneaky alien bastards getting a toehold. Isaac Stovell
the steel works mills & chemical plants drew the cowherds off the slopes & the ground long kept prisoner spilled back up into the sky then among the trees were two brothers gathering mushrooms not together never that but one glimpsing the other after rain in orange peel muddy boot heels looted earth now the summer hillside screams with cicadas & itâ€™s tough to think they ever werenâ€™t there even as time draws on when nothing living feels for long & the soil is suspect & my lungs as well as we drop the shutters & old stories lose their charm James Field
I find the path at night, an intruder breaking into open air, and stalking the emptied streets, where late cyclists aim parabolas of chrome to encompass me, where a night bus whips stragglers with bars of white fluorescence. I am mostly unremarked upon, a stranger to the night's customs, an exile from the evacuation of good nights and sleep tights. Rogue foxes tear at chicken paper behind the graffitied junction box and, like them, I drift with purpose across the indifferent mansions, silent estates, the streetlight pools like stubborn slicks of yellow oil. The people who placed me here lingered over bright farmland, watched skies for kites and buzzards and in their long loyalty to places observed the slow functions of rain on eroded sandstone, of quicklime scattered over earth, white mounds steaming in frost. The pathway reveals itself beyond traffic and daylight, the exposure of crowds; this garden needs secrecy to grow. The dry seeds tick on grey slabs. The quick roots sneak ingress into gaps and flaws permeate concrete into the maw of hummus, clay, and loam, a patient revolution, a rewilding. The slow snaring shoots breed at my footfall, and when dawn hits the city will drown in wild clover and vines. Haven't you noticed how quickly things fall to the weeds? Daniel Bennett
The Gorge Michael Anthony
One of These Dreams
Earth & universe have narrowed to a line of horizon; the returning of the void, in distant waves came closer. I screamed in vain in a shell. A broken bridge overlooked a gigantic drooling mouth. Floating in search of an exit, a caravel drifted in abyssal skies. I got on it. I took a look overboard to a sea of bones & noticed my own skeleton writing a poem. Alexandre Ferrere
Michael Anthony is an American writer and artist. He has published fiction, poetry, illustrations, and photographs in literary journals and commercial magazines. Most recently these include, El Portal, Lit-Tapes, Camas Magazine, and Gremlin Creative. The American Labor Museum exhibited Michael’s photojournalism essay, Mill Ends, on the waning textile industry. A selection of his work may be viewed at: MichaelAnthony.MyPortfolio.com Miranda Lynn Barnes is a poet from the US, now living in the UK. Recent poems appear in Under the Radar, The Compass, The Interpreter’s House, Confingo, NOON: a journal of the short poem, irisi magazine and One. Miranda teaches Poetry and other genres at Bath Spa University, where she recently completed her PhD in Creative Writing, concerned with science, poetry, and spirituality. She is living in Bristol with her ginger cat and ginger-bearded husband. Daniel Bennett was born in Shropshire and lives and works in London. His poems have appeared in a variety of places, including The Manchester Review, The Stinging Fly, Under The Radar, and Atrium. His first collection West South North, North South East will be published next year by The High Window. He is also the author of the novel All The Dogs. Stephen Briseño is a poet, photographer, and middle school English teacher. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Mentor Mixtapes, 8Poems, formercactus, Riddled with Arrows, and Right Hand Pointing. He lives in San Antonio, TX with his wife and daughter, where you can usually find them lounging at a coffee shop. Follow him on Twitter: @stephen_briseno Nancy Byrne Iannucci is a historian who teaches history and lives poetry in Troy, NY. Her work is published/forthcoming in numerous publications including Bop Dead City,
Allegro Poetry Magazine, Gargoyle, Autumn Sky Poetry Daily, Typehouse Literary Magazine, Riggwelter Press, Poetry Breakfast, Three Drops from a Cauldron, Picaroon Poetry, Dying Dahlia Review to name a few. Her debut book of poetry, Temptation of Wood, was recently published by Nixes Mate Review. David Chorlton was born in Austria, grew up in Manchester, England, and lived for several years in Vienna before moving to Phoenix in 1978. His newest collection is Bird on a Wire from Presa Press, and The Bitter Oleander Press published Shatter the Bell in my Ear, translations of poems by Austrian poet Christine Lavant. Hunter Conway's poetry has appeared or is forthcoming in formercactus, Eunoia Review, and Tiny Flames Press. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Ariana D. Den Bleyker is a Pittsburgh native currently residing in New York’s Hudson Valley where she is a wife and mother of two. When she’s not writing, she’s spending time with her family and every once in a while sleeps. She is the author of three collections, fifteen chapbooks, a novelette, an experimental memoir, and two crime novellas. She hopes you'll fall in love with her words. Pauline Duchesneau is a Maine (USA) writer whose work has appeared in Dime Show Review, Pilcrow & Dagger, and Adelaide Literary Magazine. Her first novel awaits another draft (could it be a last?). Pauline is ever-thankful for the supportive ears of her girls, both canine and human. Ceri Eagling grew up in Wales, lived in France for six years, and is a long-time resident of the United States. Her writing is influenced by each of these experiences. Her poetry has been published in Antiphon, Allegro Poetry and Verse-Virtual. Her short stories and essays have appeared elsewhere. Alexandre Ferrere is 28 and lives in France. After a master's degree in Library Sciences and a master's degree in English Literature at the University of Caen, France, he is now working towards a PhD. on American poetry at the University of Nanterre, France. He wrote a master's thesis on the poetic influences behind the poetry of Allen Ginsberg, and a comparative study on Allen Ginsberg and Richard Eberhart. His essays appeared in Beatdom and Empty Mirror; some of his poems appeared or are forthcoming in Rust+Moth, 8poems Journal and Structural Damage. James Field lives in North Italy. He wears shoes and has his hair a certain way. Erik Fuhrer holds an MFA from the University of Notre Dame. His work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in BlazeVox, Dream Pop Press, Crab Fat Magazine, Noble/Gas Qrtrly, Crack the Spine and various other venues. Kara Goughnour is a queer writer and documentarian currently unpacked in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She is the 2018 winner of the Gerald Stern Poetry Award and has work published or forthcoming in Pamplemousse Literary Magazine, Oyster River Pages, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and Third Point Press. Twitter: @kara_goughnour Website: karagoughnour.com Sam Grudgings is a shabbily dressed, painter, poet and storyteller from Bristol. He works strictly in acrylic and other mediums, but never in larges. He sexts in comic sans and everything he says is a fucking lie. Dangerously nude. Fashionably late. Sam's work has been displayed in some places and banned in others.
Maz Hedgehog is like Batman but pretentious. Her work is mostly inspired by her mother's storytelling and fantasy novels borrowed from local libraries. Maz has been published in online magazines like Ruru Reads, headlined nights including That's What She Said and A Lovely Word. Her debut chapbook, Vivat Regina, was published by Dog Horn Publishing earlier this year. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Patreon @MazHedgehog Shelly Kay is a self-taught photographer based in NYC. She is a two time featured limited edition artist with CB2 and has done the photos for a book titled Voices within a teenage mind, available on amazon. Kay takes daily inspiration from the city. "There's great art beyond what can easily be seen & in the general chaos underlying the city." Her work is available here: redbubble.com/people/shellykay Hailing from the farm valleys of west Appalachia, Ben Kline lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, drinking more coffee than seems wise. His work is forthcoming or has recently appeared in The Offing, apt, Ink & Nebula, Bending Genres Journal, Typehouse Literary Magazine, Beech Street Review, The Matador Review, Impossible Archetype, and many more. You can read more at benkline.tumblr.com/publications Sarah Law lives in London and is a tutor for the Open University and elsewhere. She has published five collections of poetry and edits the online journal Amethyst Review. Mike Lee is an editor, photographer and reporter for a trade union newspaper in New York. His fiction is published and forthcoming in a number of journals, including Ghost Parachute and Reservoir. Website: mleephotoart.com. Liam Lowth is an Australian screenwriter. His short fiction has been previously published in Tincture Journal, Writerâ€™s Edit, and Veronica Mag. Joaquin Macias was born in Sumter, South Carolina to an artist and a communist. He is an aspiring writer and student of English and Theater at Winthrop University Gill McEvoy lives in Devon where she is a member of the Company of Poets. She is a Hawthornden Fellow, and her 3rd Happenstance pamphlet The First telling won the 2015 Michael Marks Award. Philip Miller is a writer, journalist and poet who lives in Edinburgh. He has written two novels, The Blue Horse (2015) and All The Galaxies (2017). His poems have appeared online and in print. He grew up in County Durham. Weston Morrow is a former journalist pursuing a master's degree in English literature at Central Washington University. He lives in Ellensburg, Washington, where he writes poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. His work is forthcoming in Boston Accent Lit. He can be found on Twitter @WMorrow.
Fabrice Poussin teaches French and English at Shorter University. Author of novels and poetry, his work has appeared in Kestrel, Symposium, The Chimes, and dozens of other magazines. His photography has been published in The Front Porch Review, the San Pedro River Review as well as other publications. Rajani Radhakrishnan is from Bangalore, India. Finding time and renewed enthusiasm for poetry after a long career in financial applications, she blogs at thotpurge.wordpress.com. Her poems have recently appeared in The American Poetry Journal, The Ekphrastic Review, The Calamus Journal and The Quiet Letter. Isaac Stovell is a native and student of Sheffield still figuring out how to best balance a creative life with an enjoyable research day job. Alongside writing poetry, he is working on The Improbable Interplanetary Revolutions of Naomi Moss, his first novel. Lauren Suchenski has a difficult relationship with punctuation and currently lives in Yardley, PA. She has been nominated twice for the Pushcart Prize as well as twice for Best of the Net and her chapbook Full of Ears and Eyes Am I is available from Finishing Line Press. You can find more of her writing on Instagram @lauren_suchenski or on Twitter @laurensuchenski. Justine Talbot is from Long Island, New York. Her fiction appears in Foliate Oak Literary Magazine and is forthcoming from The Bookends Review. Simon Zonenblick is a 37 year old poet from West Yorkshire, living in the Calder Valley and working in libraries and a variety of other spheres including gardening, greeting cards and film making. His film on Branwell BrontĂŤ's Calder Valley Years was released last year, and his essays on local history, poetry and wildlife have been broadcast on local radio and published in newspapers such as The Halifax Courier.
`Dreamingâ€™ by Maz Hedgehog was first published in her chapbook Vivat Regina (Dog Horn Publishing 2019).
ISSUE #20 COMING APRIL 2019
Welcome to the nineteenth issue! Riggwelter keeps rolling on. This issue contains work from: Michael Anthony, Miranda Lynn Barnes, Daniel Be...
Published on Mar 1, 2019
Welcome to the nineteenth issue! Riggwelter keeps rolling on. This issue contains work from: Michael Anthony, Miranda Lynn Barnes, Daniel Be...